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Vol.

XXXIII, Issue 6/7

A LETTER FROM THE EDITORS


Some of us editors had foresaken our duties to our classes, quizzes, and papers in an effort to spread the word about The Press Literary Supplement. Apparently we did an unusally good job this time around because we had more submissions than expected, and more submissions that we could fit into one (double) issue. So as promised, this is the Literary Supplements Web Supplement, complete with all poems, pictures, and short stories that could not work their way into our print issue. Now that the semester is over, at least it should be, please enjoy some more of your peers creative works. You dont have anything else to do for six weeks, so take your time with this baby. We certainly took our time putting it together. (Sorry!)

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CONTRIBUTORS
Alex Iosub Arielle Dollinger Daniel Cashmar Evan Goldaper Jared Hunte Liz Early Nader Nouraee Paul Longo Rohit Kaushik Summer Broeckx-Smith Virginia Mule Ali Sundermier Chris Priore Elizabeth Yoo Jasmine Haefner Jesse Smith Liz Kaempf Nicole Kohn R.J. Huneke S.F. Cooper Sarah Evins Zuri Tannis

**Cover Art and Watercolor Images By Vincent Barone**


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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

JARED HUNTE
Life/Love?

He exists modestly Filled with over-flattering honesty, gone is he. In a world of fantasy creations His reality shaken, By the realization of his participation in unwarranted rejected infatuation Pressure mounts, social pressure rises Lifes a bad joke with no punch line on the horizon As he tithes ten percent of his life to emotional charity He searches for peace in a fogged up world lacking clarity Hilarity ensues as he attempts some sense of normality Looked down upon if he stays the same Laughed at if he tries to change Strange hes called Written therapy for the problems he cant solve. For love he searches desperately But to be spurned by the other sex seemed like his destiny Until he finds one with an impure future, present, and past His only concern is whether it will last And whether shell love him back Is being alone his fate? Hopes the feelings hes had for so long shell reciprocate She does, giving the gift of her soul and heart Until death does them part....

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Spontaneity Planned
I have nothing more to give. You understand, Id give you anything, but I have nothing more and yet, I still give and give and give But its alright. I can give from lack because of you. You give me just as much. Even when you dont have anything to give, Because I give to you. We are a partnership, a one. But separate. Unique. Complementary. We give so much of ourselves, But we keep ourselves. We are not a synthesis. No, nothing that boring. Not that limiting. We are spontaneity planned.

LIZ EARLY

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We Are As Different As Different Can Be


We are as different as different can be, But yet, you are always there for me. When I was scared, you comforted me. Kick some ass, sea bass. When I was happy, you rejoiced. I always knew youd make it. Always there with a smile, a joke. Lil Bit, you are better than you know, believe in yourself. Long arguments. Longer movie marathons. Bright yellow personality. (Id say you need a bigger body to fit your heart, but I dont think they make them that big.)

SB PRESS Wednesday, December 7

NICOLE KOHN
That Thing They Call Love
She never felt like this before. Lying in bed with this man who shes known for about a year. But to her it felt like a lifetime. Thoughts ran through her mind. Running away together, getting married. She opened her eyes with a smile on her face and looked around. But he was gone.

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Reflection
A tear running down their faces Nowhere to go, no one to see Theyre alone, no one by their side Their hands dirty, covered in dirt Their clothes ripped, feeling the cold air blow its way through the holes The ground hard and cold Theyre looking for something, anything to wrap their cold frigid bodies into They see this mysterious body standing over them They look up, their eyes scared like a little kid afraid of the monster hiding under their bed The mysterious figure holds out its hand, and they slowly put their hands in its The figure is none other than a young girl The girl wraps a blanket around their cold bodies, and puts a cup of hot chocolate in their hands He looks up at this girl, who doesnt look at all scared, and realizes that maybe there are people out there that do care The girl takes out a five dollar bill, kneels down and puts it in his hands He looks up, but the girl is already gone He looks around, but she wasnt anywhere in sight. He hopes shell be back again, because he wants to see the girl who in his mind is the only one who truly cares.

Wednesday, December 7 SB PRESS

Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

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R.J. HUNEKE
Lightning Branches
Lightning stretches and sparkles like roots Grasping, branching and feeding Electric possibilities Paths Roads Print font paragraphs Trails of titles fumbling with time Flashes of reality resonate from each of your fingertips Catch rain before it slips away Youve typed electricity fore now Showing, feeling and living Sounds like grasses folding softly Winds Sighs Cradling your arms In stanzas so dirtily clean Rock and sing notes soaring more sensationally than theyll ever know Love space C no space R space Love.

Photo By Nader Nouraee Gloria Tattoo

SB PRESS Wednesday, December 7

R.J. HUNEKE
Peach V for All Time?
Venus, what is this bubbling, milky draught? Was this poured pure from the breast of your thought? Mine eyes behold the hands and the cups craft, That rest near the raised red peaks that have brought, Temptation to leave behind all I sought; Sustenance the like of which my poor soul, Need but nourish itself with, immortal caught Stretching her legs bridge cross times darker hole, Enraptured in sex goddesss slow, weeping role. Venus, mortals are not meant to do this, Elders turn from Natures christening glance, Tell us, this is base desire, and hiss: There is only love with godly romance; But Lady, what about Christs well-placed lance? Was his spouse not Mary; did they not love? Immortalitys cup stiffens my stance, Do I consummate the destructive shove, Ruin the evil organized church from above? Succulent round mound Often weeping So sweet Warm, soft Fold meets spherical Fuzzy and smooth So wet Soft Rich, soft A sharp pungent taste More delicious So strong Soft Pink, soft Saturated touch Sticky and moist So sweet Soft Warm, soft Distinct Unlike any other Devouring Dream-like Peach, E. Vagina.

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Wednesday, December 7 SB PRESS

Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

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CHRIS PRIORE
Dreamer
I fell to sleep by your side and though you were such an angel, that was before Before this and that; quiet, quiet. Dont wake up It will end it always does.

Wind Chimes
I love her why do I love them? I dont want to touch anything at all Its all a mess that I cannot bear and I dont want to hear youre left Passing through my mind is a sound a wind chime but theres not a breeze in the air and Im lost

Autumn No. 1
Whether you love me or not is not a question I have thought to ask. Leaving is not an action Ive harbored in my mind And on a long drive from home to home I thought of fair autumnal foliage and what has happened in a year

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Image By Arielle Dollinger

Sometimes poems arent supposed to make sense


Today I swum through the labrinth in haste Attempted to gizzard its helm Riding through the black-forest and cotton sea-fare, I soon shuddered, finding a realm Where the kumquats and flutterbys anchor like moss And the rolling mulberries unwind Where Iswallow the calming electric entrail And awake in incarnadine brine. All voracious behemoths that clamored to climb And rapaciously swung vine to vine Now unfurl their tight vertebrae, cling to the dust And dislodge that vile apple from spine.
Wednesday, December 7 SB PRESS

SARAH EVINS

Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

JESSE SMITH
Couch-side Confession
Hey. Isnt this awkward? But why does it have to be? Is it because its so hard to see how this doesnt end in catastrophe? This part of my brain long since atrophied.

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My verbal skills decline at the moment I contemplate leaving my comfortable box inside friendships made years ago and heated debate. But its not too late for us to change our ways, its not fate that brought us here and to ignore this would be a mistake, I think. Maybe. But youre beautiful. And its not like youre some untouchable fine thing, locked behind the sky or in a museum, youre a person. And before I see the inside of a mausoleum Id like to see you on the opposite side of a table eating dinner with me. On a date. Because fuck, youre real and Im here and youre sitting next to me and that makes me want to taste your tongue, breathe deep your soul, caress your face, turn you to me and ask burning questions like, What the hell are we doing here on Earth?, Is there a God or a heaven? and What do you think of ketchup on eggs? And Ive already met your parents, so its not like it would be that complicated. Who am I kidding, it would, but everything is, and why do we need to pretend like things have to be simple? Because if they were, wed die of boredom. But its not like I want to run away with you. Im not in love, just a date will do. Just dinner and a movie. Or drinks and a board game. That could work, too.

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Waking Up With You


The moon looked like it was taped to the sky last night and the stars like they were holes in some giants eyelid closed about the earth. What is it that I did to deserve the scorn of your morning breath hot on my neck? Am I so short-sighted that I didnt see you worn thin from the death of your bright-eyed-kid perspective, or have I been deaf to the invective you pour on me every dawn, and just now Ive cleared my ears to hear you name the fears you shout in our collective yawn? I would have drawn down that yellow-white sphere and staked it to the lawn for you to admire just to see you cheer, even if I expired from the raw effort required. But then our situation didnt seem so dire. Passing our time on some titans eyeball, our backs against the wall of your parents house, staring into the fireplace, our objectively respective limbs intertwined to become subjective in my mind unable to tell which were mine how could I have foreseen the wild shapes that lie in between the lines of your smile today? What part did I play in the creation of the foreboding sound of your erratic heart that I could swear pounds out some emphatic Morse code accusation? Your eyes flutter open and Im ready for some dramatic damnation to be bestowed upon me, and I weigh the ways I could play my response, but to my dismay your lip has already raised and I cant delay nor evade, so I just pray and you say, Good morning. And I realize that Im probably just a little bit paranoid.

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

ARIELLE DOLLINGER
Belleza
rboles y flores de papel, Podra mirarlos para siempre, Un sol y pajaro de papel, tambin, No se mueven, Son permanentes. Miro al cielo y veo un cohete que esta volando sobre mi cabeza. Pero que son cosas bonitas sin carne y sangre?

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SQUEAKY
A Cats Dilemma or Why I Believe We Need Equal Rights
Meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow. Meow meow, Meow meow meow meow meow. Meow meowmeow meow, meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow, meow meow. Meow meow meow, Meow meow meow, meow! Meow, meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow. Meow; meow meow meow, meow meow. Bitches aint shit but hoes and tricks, Meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow meow. Meow, meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meowmeow meow meow meow meow meow meow. Meow meow meow: meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow. Meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow?

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

SUMMER BROECKX-SMITH
Burnt Vanilla Love
Oh how the West winds reach to wrap and whoosh me cross burnt arms. They bribe with fulgent crimson skies, height, and blazing harm. But I know not which lovingly dragged forth to tart vacation from worldly lives. Yet clouded eyes crave ghosts of observation. The heart yearns, the head yearns, pining dreams of the depressed, the body yearns. Adventure struck yet collectively protest! Autonomous antics must be fevered to run away. For dead-end dreams choked to life and lust coerce me to stay. Conned spirits weep for mindless loss and base-torn ties of mindless too. Matte muscles beg to trudge alone but still my soul belongs to you. These words fall harsh upon cruel ears I know. Piteous echos within blend frenzied up with lucid fear. Cant you please let this begin? So while words scorn burnt vanilla love, evoked to hate me more, my war-worn heart rests West and lonely on springtimes crashing shore.

Image By Alex Iosub Bare It

Wednesday, December 7 SB PRESS

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Scary Story
n time primordial, the ancient beings crafted a world of creeping darkness. Realizing their folly, they smashed the world into a singularity and covered it with rock and water. Much time has passed and our tale begins with the passing of gods to men, the age when technology ruled the minds of humanity. The center of the Earth had become the goal and the intrigue brought Him forth to lead the task. Burrowing away at the surface and piercing the rock that guards, it spiraled deeper and deeper. The temperature increased exponentially as they neared the boiling mass of liquid fire beneath. This was prepared for, as humanity had grown wise, and yet their naivety persisted. The shielding of the drill allowed them to swim through the molten death and begin to drill into the final security. The thick iron shell reluctantly allowed the entrance of the drill and a thick ethereal tentacle sprouted vigorously from the crack. It stabbed through the translucent glass of the drill and into the shivering hearts of the bold yet asinine explorers. Several tentacles budded off of the original and stabbed into their brains. The tentacles dug into His brain, revealing the inner fear and darkness of him. Mouth agape with the visions of horror, his mind begged for end. To know the true terror of the universe, to know the fate of all life, He fell to his knees and He became one with the horror as did they all. Once again, the world from which death cometh had risen and the ancient beings had passed. The tentacle smashed the iron cage from itself and began its expansion, absorbing the power of the fire that flows. With this kinetic expansion of

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DANIEL CASHMAR
energy, it broke away at the rock and entered the domain of humanity. Frozen with the horror of the gods, they did not resist the coming funeral of Earth. The growing darkness ate through the limited expanse of the world and reached to envelope the glowing night. But humanity had indeed grown wise and was no longer limited to their blue birthplace. Aboard the Starship Seawolf, a crew had assembled to combat the foe using strong magnetic forces. The darkly glowing once world grew larger, grabbing at the Moon and devouring it with the black horror. Large slabs of magnetic metal had been rooted from the remainder of their solar system and the eternal doom continued inserting the terror of death among the planets. The Starship Seawolf had succeeded in its mission to contain the primordial darkness by creating a new magnetic shell about it. But a piece had escaped, a perpetually-silhouetted Him, and He comes at night to drive minds to insanity. I tell you this, my son, so you may know of the threat we battle every night. Our minds, our grasp on reality is that which He seeks and this horror drives many to the solitary constant of our universe death. With your quizzical look, I wish for you to speak and ask this question you have. One question only, my father. What is a Seawolf? Tell us what you think it means to be a Seawolf! Upload a short video of yourself to Youtube and send the link to Wolfie@stonybrook.edu showing your school spirit!

Photo By Liz Early

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Into the Dirt


auren wasnt a model by any stretch of the imagination, but she wasnt ugly either. And she had decided last night that today was going to be the big day. Today she would sit next to a totally random stranger on the Express bus, like she did every day, but instead of pretending to listen to music or check the messages on her phone she would say good morning and how are you doing? and try to carry on that most basic of human interactions; a simple conversation, no strings attached. It was a crisp December morning and mist hung in the air. A crowd was gathered to board the buses in South P. There was no way Lauren would make the next bus, and on the one after that she would probably be standing. At least I wont be the only one late for class, Lauren thought. Everyone had a 9:50 class, which had already started. She had been thinking about the whole thing for a while now, the way she usually did, pondering the what ifs and the maybes and trying very hard to talk herself out of the idea. The problem, according to Lauren, was that our society had evolved, impossibly, into an anti-social one. Sure, everyone was on Facebook and texting all the time, but headphones and the Internet had made physical human interaction a mere footnote of daily life. She worked through the crowd and managed to find a seat on the second bus.Good morning, she said. Morning, the Asian replied. At least the skies are clear, she said. Lauren understood that weather was critical to any small talk. Mhm, thats good. So where do you commute from? Home, the Asian said. Wheres that? East Setauket. Oh. Whats that, like, twenty minutes? She had no idea where East Setauket was. Ten actually. Not even. Oh thats it? Must be convenient. Mhm. Lauren lived in Kings Point and had to run over three people to make it to campus in an hour. She hated East Setauket and everyone who lived there. What year are you here? Freshman. Really? Cool. Do you like it so far? Its alright. How have your classes been? The bus was only now pulling out of the lot. Mixed. What are you taking? asked Lauren.

S.F. COOPER
Math, which is easy. Physics, which is kind of hard. And Chemistry, I dont even know why Im taking, the Asian said. Thats a pretty tough load for your first semester. Apparently my orientation leaders didnt think so. I took a lot of AP classes in high school and Im Asian so they figured I was a real brain or something. Fuck that. Its all good though. Doesnt sound too good. Do you know what you want to do? Not get in trouble for being late to class. I mean in general. I dont know, get good grades. What about after school? Like in life? Oh, I dont know. Med School probably, if I can get in. Or nursing. Or architecture. Its okay if you arent sure. You have time. I know. But I get depressed thinking about it. You shouldnt be. Do whatever makes you happy. That was the biggest load of crap and it had trouble coming out of Laurens mouth. But someone had said it to her once when she was down and she remembered feeling better afterwards. And who knew? It could be true. Well, the Asian continued, not depressed like suicidal or anything. Just depressed like when you gently push an acorn into the dirt with your thumb. That kind of depressed. You know most kids change their major like five times, right? Thats comforting. Do you have any siblings? One. Older. What does she do? He teaches kindergarten in the city. Ah, okay. I see. I could never do that. Kindergarten. It would be too much like day care. You dont like children? the Asian asked. I do. Just not all at the same time. You know the bad thing about good times is that they pass. Huh? But thats also the good thing about bad times. The bus turned the roundabout onto Circle Road and kids were making their way over the crosswalk from the dormitories to the academic buildings. Some were running and others only fast-walking. The kids on the bus were halfawake now as the caffeine set in. Lauren watched one couple cross the street, hand in hand.

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LIT SUP
ROHIT KAUSHIK
noises only serve to emphasize the deeper silence of the house. It is the sound of people not talking. I know it well, and enter gingerly, knowing what lies within. The silence, straining at my entrance, is forced to resettle around me and the noises I bring, but it perseveres and embeds itself once again into the house and the air. There are broken dishes on the floor. Red, yellow, white, and green shards litter the kitchen. Their crunch beneath my shoes is a blight on my mood, but, like the silence, it breaks. I persevere. This too is an old memory; this too is not easily forgotten. I gather myself up and clean the debris. The memories of meals long ago shared get tossed in the waste alongside the remnants of meals recently consumed. I breathe in deep when Im finished. The air is stale, and I seem to taste a hint of bitterness that I know isnt truly there. I venture out of the kitchen to the upper floor. The stairs, almost a century old, complain at the injustice my body causes them. Their groans announce my arrival, and I pointedly ignore the lack of a response. Two separate rooms, two separate silences grow dim and harsh as one. They do not look forward to being disturbed, and I am happy to comply. I pass by the rooms and step into the bathroom. Its dimly lit and far from pristine; it remains a welcome sight. I throw off my clothes and step into the shower. I turn the hot first, wait, and then turn the cold. The water goes from burning, to freezing, to warm, and then finally one step below burning. Steam billows around me. The air is once again moist, but it is a warm moisture. It brings back the warmth that the rain took out of me. I breathe it in again. The breath is tasteless; vapor has taken over completely, drowning my senses. As my body becomes accustomed to the heat, I delicately turn up the hot water, daring it to try to burn again. I continue this until the heat can go up no further; the penetrating chill has been purged from my body, but I know better than to get used to it. I grab a towel, dry myself, and wrap it around my body, preparing myself for the cold that lurks outside the curtains. I step outside, and feel the chill again attempt to insinuate itself into me. I hastily dress and leave the bathroom behind me. The silence is still hostile, and I leave that too behind. I continue my retreat until Im outside and back in the autumn chill. Its no longer raining. I forego my coat and instead let myself feel the cold. I take another breath. The sour moisture of the rain is gone. Instead, it left a freshness that mingles with the surrounding decay. It is a warm smell, and it is much appreciated. Petrichor and earth mingle inside me, bringing back silent memories. Autumn is too quickly exhausted and given up to winter, so I look up at the bonfire of the trees and make a wish.

Petrichor and Earth

utumn is a time of dying. As winter encroaches upon the world, a wave of fading and atrophy precedes it. Slowly, the earth gives itself up to the cold. But for all the destruction that autumn brings in its wake, it remains the most beautiful of seasons. It is self-immolation. For a brief moment, the world lights up in its own demise. If the seasons are meteoroids, incessantly crashing through our lives, autumn is a meteor. Though it may disintegrate as it plummets, it does so with unrivaled elegance and splendor, and much like seeing shooting stars, it is a time for memories and a time for wishes. As I start a long walk home, I remember this. The trees are ablaze with their own decay, and I join in with the same abandon. My feet seek out the dried, shriveled leaves. The harmony of crunches forces a smile on my face. It is an old happinessone found young and never forgotten. The road is busy with people coasting through their day, but I let them watch my fickle dance down the sidewalk. Left, right, right, back, quick hop forward, a kick ahead. Not quite out of breath, but breathing deeper, I slow and take in the air; its dry but rich on my tongue. It lingers, cleansing my palate of a rich and decadent summer. I walk again, savoring the tasteearthy and aged. I know the leaves I had so gleefully reduced to dust add to the effect. A breeze whips past and completes my image of the season. The leaves on the ground fall up; the leaves on the trees fall down. The sky is cloudy, but for once, it is acceptable. The snug embrace of my coat provides a unique warmth which can only be felt and appreciated in the presence of the cold that makes that very coat necessary. It is a marriage of opposites that makes me feel more complete. As the breeze dies down, the sky begins to drizzle. Its to be expected, but it is not part of my ideal. The rain disrupts the marriage and lets the cold penetrate my skin. It is a reminder that winter comes next, a cruel season when autumn is solemn bleak when autumn is radiant. I walk faster, but the sky matches my pace. I lazily and halfheartedly try to resume my dance, but the crispness of the leaves has been drowned. I can no longer hear their satisfying, comforting crunch. All that is left is a hint of resistance beneath my feet and only the suggestion of feeling; it is the ghost of a ghost giving up beneath my feet. The walk no longer holds its appeal, and I continue to quicken pace. The air has soured on my tongue. The sophisticated vintage has become waterlogged. The moistness encourages the chill into my body. There is nothing left in it to savor, and I discourage myself from acknowledging the winter within. I arrive at home not yet soaked and with enough dryness left in me to flee inside. I call out and am greeted mostly by silence. I do hear the sound of people moving about, but the

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Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Nice To Meet You


It was nice meeting you. It was nice meeting you, too. It was a normal exchange. Its a formality, right? We utter those words whether it was actually nice meeting someone or not. But what if it actually was? What if it actually was nice meeting someone, and then that person walks out of our lives forever, leaving us with only those five dreadful words: It was nice meeting you. Is it fate? Does fate exist? Do we see that person again if were supposed to, or meant to? Or do we decide what happens? Theyre age-old questions, with good reason. She sat in the office of the small local newspaper she was interning at that summer wondering why shed just let him walk away with his sparkling eyes and firm handshake. Hed poked his head into her little corner, uttered the everso disappointing words, It was nice meeting you, flashed a smile in her direction, and walked out the door. Ideally, the story would have played out like this: She got up from her chair, followed him out the door, caught up with him and asked him if he wanted to get coffee and talk. She knew next to nothing about him, but something in his eyes, something she couldnt quite pinpoint, made her intent on finding out more. He held the door open and they walked into the coffee

ARIELLE DOLLINGER
shop. Sipping her vanilla latte, she listened intently to his tales of traveling to Europe and Africa. Why was it that stories about Europe and Africa seemed so picturesque and perfect? There was corruption and malice there too, wasnt there? Maybe they just seemed better because they were the unknown, she thought. She told him that the farthest shed been from home was Canada, and that shed always dreamt of traveling the world. She told him of the articles she was working on for the paper. She told him about her hobbies, her art and her music. And he listened, looking at her as if she were the only person in the coffee house, maybe even the only person in the world. There was just something about his smile. She wanted to say something funny just for the chance to watch him smile and hear him laugh one more time. But thats not how it happened. She got up from her chair, walked to the office door, stepped onto the pavement outside, saw him walking down the block, and then she turned around, put her hand on the doorknob, twisted it, and stepped back onto the safe, comfortable, carpeted floor of the office. She imagined that his image eventually faded into the expanse of the sidewalk and the trees and the houses and cars. And he was gone.

Photo By Liz Early

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LIT SUP
ZURI TANNIS
be. I drove, feeling every single change in elevation, and my wife sang along to the music that drifted from the speakers. We arrived at the hospital and were directed to oncology. After signing in, my wife was called in fairly promptly. I sat in the waiting room and looked at the people that surrounded me. Some had hair loss from the chemo. The doctor told us we would have to come back in a few days to get the results, but reassured us that it was most likely nothing. I heard my wife let out a sigh of relief. I didnt calm so quickly, however. I thanked the doctor and we left. Much to my joy, the car ride back had produced more conversation. I attempted to act as if nothing had happened at all. We discussed silly things like the game coming on tonight and what wed eat for dinner. Still, a thought lingered in the back of my mind. We sat on the couch, eating delivered pizza. My wife was very into the game, cheering for her team all along the way. When it went to commercial I muted it. She put her slice of pizza down and looked at me. I let out a puff of air and turned to face her. What if hes wrong? Who, the commentator? The doctor! What if it is something? And there I was, shouting again. Well well find out when the time comes, she stated calmly. You know, thats the same thing that the doctors said to your mom, that it was probably nothing, but it wasnt. With that my wife got up, took her slices of pizza and walked off. That night I slept on the couch. When we went to the doctor those few days later, we didnt receive the news we wanted. It was a tumor, and she had more than one. The doctor spoke to us about treatment options, none of which seemed ideal. Regardless we went along and set up appointments for chemo and radiation. Later that day she called her dad to tell him everything. The only thing I could pick up from the conversation was, Aw, it will be okay, Daddy. You would think that treatment wouldnt make you feel worse. I am quite certain my wife felt better before. Now shes always experiencing nausea, her hair is thinning and shes always tired and in pain. And although some of her tumors were removed, some still remained. It was after three months of this that my wife decided to stop treatment. At first, I felt as if she was giving up, but I wanted her to enjoy what she had left of her life. The doctor told us that without more treatment she had approximately six months to live. A week later, our house was sold. We came to the conclusion that it would be too big for just me, and decided to take this time to do all the stuff we always wanted to do. We rented a sports car and drove across the country to see her dad. Along the way we stopped to see different landmarks people always talked about. Her dad was very happy to see us since it had been a while. I took him for a drive

Little
t all happened so quickly, yet at the same time everything was moving in slow motion. I moved to click to the next slide of my presentation, and there was a knock at the door. Everyone turned to look and see who it was. Come in, I shouted. It was my secretary. Each person in the room noted the grave look that covered her face. I knew then that the six months the doctor had promised would never be. The clicker fell from my hand. ***** People like to say, its the little things in life: the little things people say, the little gifts they give. Ive come to realize that its really only about the little time we have and the little collection of cancerous cells in my wifes body. The short, little sentence the doctor used, Im sorry, and the little pleasure I had left in my life. If someone had told me how much the little things would ruin my life, I probably would have tried to live abigger life. Now looking back it seems like it happened so long ago when I first found out. It had been a sunny day and I had just gotten back from work. My wife was in the bedroom ironing clothes. She looked up, saw me and smiled. She was walking towards the bed to lay a shirt down when I took that as an opportunity to attack. I tickled her and she yelped. I continued. I ran the tips of my fingers along her neck and arms, moved down towards her ribs and stomach, her most ticklish spot. When I went to unbutton her shirt I felt it. Something that shouldnt be there. A lump, right near her heart. We both stopped laughing. She just looked at me and slid off the bed. What the hell is that? I asked slowly, my voice soaked in anger and worry. Its nothing; just a lumpcould be anything. I looked down at my wife, not believing what Id just heard. Could be anything?! It could be a I didnt say the word. Why didnt you tell me? Have you spoken to a doctor? Silence fell around us. Alright, fine, whatever. With that I stormed out of the room. Not the best choice. I should have been there for my wife, should have told her that things would be okay. Instead I got angry. Angry mainly because there was nothing in my direct power that I could do about it. I went back upstairs and saw her sitting on the chaise lounge watching TV. She was sort of just staring in the direction of the television and not really at the program itself. Hey, Im sorry for getting upset. Its alright. Dont worry about it. We have to go to the doctor. I know. More silence. I walked over to the closet and grabbed her jacket. Lets go. The car ride wasnt as painfully awkward as I thought it would

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a couple of times; I think he loved it. He and my wife spoke about when she was younger and about her mom. Eventually I had to return to work; they only gave me so much time off. I could tell that she wanted to stay, so I left and promised to return on the weekends. It was during this intermission, the very next week that she suddenly fell ill. I took the earliest flight back. ***** I ran into the hospital and straight to the desk. The lady told me which room to go to. By the time I got there they already had all sorts of tubes and wires connected to her. Her dad saw me, nodded, and left the room. I went and sat down beside her, taking her hand in mine. Hey, I said. Not asking how she was since I already knew the answer to thatnot well. I kissed her on her forehead. Do you remember when we first began talking to each other? Hot tears rolled down my cheeks. Yes, I whispered, I do. And how I would just ask you a bunch of questions? I looked away and squeezed her hand tighter, not responding. Do you? she asked again, then she elaborated, Things like, if you could buy any car what would you buy? and if you could visit any place in the world where would you visit? She turned and looked up at me. Her movements and breathing were labored. Do you know why I asked you those things? She paused a moment. I figured that if I knew the answer to those questions, I could better picture a life with you. That if I knew which car you wanted, I could imagine us zipping along the French countryside in it. That if I knew what your favorite dish was, I could picture us eating it on a Friday night. Then she stopped and laughed, I remember that first time we met, I asked what cologne you were wearing. Later that same day I bought it. Then the first time you came to my apartment I sprayed just a little bit around, so that it would seem familiar to you and you would stay longer. I looked down at her; the grey face I had grown accustomed to seeing was oddly bright. This is what happened to her mother. For some reason, cancer has this way of tricking you. You think that that person, your loved one, is getting better, but theyre not. I love you so much. She looked at me and smiled, I love you too. Then she continued to reveal all these little things I never knew.

Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7

Image By Alex Iosub Arianna (Senseless)

Wednesday, December 7 SB PRESS

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LIZ KAEMPF
to ignore. She did this every night for six nights. On the seventh she didnt walk immediately back to her place by the window. Her breathin slowed as the quick notes of the guitarist surrounded her and she was compelled to see him. She leaned her back against the bar top and watched his fingers glide gently across the arm of the guitar. It looked effortless and she couldnt help herself, she wondered what those hands would feel like. On her skin. In her hair. Against her He stopped. He stopped playin and looked up out of his hat and saw her, as if for the first time. Their eyes met and she felt her body shiver and tense. She couldnt help herself. She looked away. She stared at the dusty scratched floor and then the slow, mournful sounds of the stringed instrument returned to fill the void it had created, reverberatin against the walls and engulfin the patrons. She left. She was lost in her own confusion and never noticed the music stoppin or the bar door openin to release the blues man. You were starin at me, he said with a voice in opposition with his music. It was smooth, like sunlight and honey. Scuse me? You might have thought I didnt notice you, but I did. How could I not? He took slow steps towards her. And you been starin at me too. He was in her space, entirely too close, but she wasnt mad. As a matter of fact, she was quite surprised. Her skin felt hot, like everythin underneath it was boilin, her fingers tingled at the tips and she didnt feel like she could keep her balance for much longer. Well have you? Been starin I mean? She could feel the warmth of his breath as he questioned her. He never broke eye contact. He peered into her big, brown orbs and could see the reflection of the moon. But thats not what he was searchin for. He was waitin for that flicker. That moment that proved she wasnt real. That she was a lie. What are you? he asked her. She was stumped temporarily. After several moments of intense starin that felt like years has passed, she said, Dont you mean, who are you? No. No, I dont. What. Are. You. What are you?! His voice rose with the last three words and he stepped in closer to her. She stumbled backward and would have fallen over had he not grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her in. His stare attempted to burn her alive from the inside. I still have time. Seven more years. What the hell are you doin

Zero to Heaven in Seven

he girl sat at a table facin the window. She likes to see the people who come in and out o the bar. She used to dress herself down; jeans that werent skin tight, a teenage boys box-shaped t-shirt, and an over-sized leather jacket that she found at a truck stop when she lived in LaFayette. She never wanted to draw attention to herself when she first began to frequent the bar, but that never stopped the 40-somethin-year-old men from tryna to cheat on their average-lookin wives with her. It wasnt until after she broke Bill Tank MacKenzies hand that they all left her alone. So she started dressin like herself again once they were good an scared of her. Sleek, form-fittin black from head to toe. She had curves that were unusual for a white woman. She used to nurse a high-ball of tequila every night, but she switched to whiskey ever since he strolled intuh town a week ago tonight. The guitarist was young, lean, and cleanshaven, with pale green eyes you couldnt see til he took off his porkpie hat. He walked slowly intuh the bar only a few minutes after she did each night. And hed head straight to the corner o the room, gingerly remove his rusted guitar from its case, sit hunched over it with one leg propped over the other, forming a triangle, and let his fingers roam free. The notes floated through the smoke-filled air of the establishment quietly and almost unnoticed. They gained confidence after the first fifteen minutes or so, as if he always needed to quietly warm-up, for himself more than anyone else. After that, sad, deep notes pierced through at various speeds and most everyone stopped to watch and listen. The girl refused to pay any attention to this foreigner, and she was good at it, at first. She would swing her hips up to the bar to ask Sal for somethin new. Aint nothin wrong with my tequila, darlin. She pursed her lips. I never said there was. I just cant drink it while this guy plays, she qualified, shootin her eyes back toward the corner where the blues man sat. Why not? Dunno. But it dont make me feel sorry enough. You need to feel sorry for somethin? Dunno. Dont think so. The bartender tried to see intuh her with no luck. She never spoke this much before. So whatll it be then? She scanned the bottles against the wall and settled her eyes on the bottle of Johnny Walker Red and nodded. Sal showed surprise with two highly-raised eyebrows and obliged her at no charge. She wrapped her fingers around the small glass. There was a chip around the rim that she chose

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here? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOIN HERE?! Her strength and aggression returnin at this crazed new threat, she pushed him off and took several quick paces away from him. What the hell are you doin here? she screamed back. It felt good. Like drivin 150 mph on a deserted highway. Like breakin Tanks hand. I didnt have a fuckin problem until you got here! With your guitar and your stupid fuckin hat and your He was so fast. She hadnt even blinked and he was so close to her face again, but it was different; calm, gentle. Youre human, he said quietly, as if he hadnt expected the words or for them to be true. She didnt respond. How would she? Come with me. He waited and saw phases of anger, fear, and skepticism in her eyes. Please?

Vol. XXXIII, Issue 6/7


She probably shouldnt have consented. In fact, she definitely should not have gone with him. If it werent for the knowledge that she was absolutely certain she could kill him, her legs would never have let her leave. They knew better. Her whole body knew better. The car ride to somewhere passed accompanied by his lugubrious, bass-toned whistle that didnt stop til the car did. It is so impolite to stare, he reminded her with a boyishly irresistible smile. She wanted to hate him. She wanted to punch him and break a bottle over his head. Instead she followed him into his middle-ofnowhere shack of a house. She was about to ask him why she was here when he took her hand, without force, and led her inside and sat them down at a shabby table with old wooden chairs. Ive never told anyone before. He paused. He swallowed hard. She was beyond confused and kept quiet. I was never able to play before. Not this well. Watchin him struggle was nerve-wrackin. He seemed so composed in the bar. Theres this story, about Robert Johnson. He played guitar like the devil himself. They say he sold his soul to get his fingers movin like they did. I didnt believe it at first, but I was desperate. Piss poor broke, no home, no nothin. So I did it. He stopped for too long. Did what? she asked. He lost her before they even left the bar. I sold my soul. She laughed without meanin too. He barely breathed and she musta looked some kind of silly because she hadnt heard herself laugh in a long while and she forgot the sound of it. Im sorry, she said, politely and quietly. You dont believe me? Well no. I mean, Im supposta believe you made a deal with the devil? Not the devil. A demon. She laughed

Photo By Nader Nouraee Serenata Per Un Morente Toro

Wednesday, December 7 SB PRESS

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of her hair, slid down to the small of her back and kneaded intuh the inside of her thighs. Her arms circled his neck and her body rose and dropped as her hair fell tediously against his cheeks. She fought clumsily with his belt buckle when he picked her up and walked them to his bed. Everythin he did was swift and soft, but the girl didnt think about that right now. She didnt think at all, just acted. She dug her fingernails intuh his biceps while he breathed into her neck, and she inhaled sharply and arched her back when the guitarist kissed her, inch by inch, down the length of her chest to her stomach to her hips. It wasnt until hours later that she actually found him asleep next to her. He was peaceful and she couldnt help but notice how angelic he was. How could this man have sold his soul to a demon? Everything about him is too sweet and too kind, she thought as she watched his bare chest rise with each breath. The moon was sinkin but its light still cut through the windows and a glowin stripe fell on his shoulder. Seven years is a long time, she thought. A minute or so of her watchin him sleep passed. Or not long enough. Her heart fumbled. The thought gave her a chill and a sickenin knot in her stomach. She slid as quietly out of his bed as she could. She found her pants by the window, her shirt hangin off one of the wooden chairs. Her panties had somehow made their way under the table. The table where he confessed to her. She couldnt just leave him like this. She was dressed and tip-toed to his side of the bed. She leaned in and only barely heard him breathin. She almost changed her mind, but her legs were finally tellin her to get the fuck outta dodge already. She kissed him gently on the cheek, Good-bye, Blues Man, she whispered. She grabbed her boots and didnt put them on until she was on the street. Would he wake up before I got back to the bar? Whats he gonna say when he wakes up and I aint there? She wondered if hed ever find her again. It wasnt likely. She was always good at runnin away. Then she wondered if thats even what she wanted. Not to be found. The knot was rollin around in her stomach when she heard a motor runnin behind her. Two minutes later she was stickin her thumb up in the air to snag her ride back intuh town. The car slowed to a stop next to her and a nice-lookin negro fellah gave her a nod to get in with a tip of his straw hat.

Zero to Heaven in Seven cont.


again. And apologized again. Why would I make somethin like this up? Dont make a lick o sense. But I met this negro fellah and he told me about the crossroads. Gave me a box with some Hoodoo stuff in it. Bones, dirt, flowers. Told me all I hadta do was put a picture o myself in there and bury it. Then Id get real good at the guitar. Nothin happened so I looked around and then there was this pretty lookin girl just standin there in the middle o nowhere. She smiled at me, and then her eyes turned red. Like someone turned a light on, quick. And I knew it worked. A demon was right there in front o me. I made a deal, sold my soul, and here we are. I got seven years left to play that there guitar before the devil takes me away. The girl realized why he had stared her down so hard before. Why he was so angry, so far from the way he was with her right now. What he was lookin for when he looked intuh her. You really believe all that, dont you? He lightly placed a hand against her cheek, I saw it. Im livin it. Im proof. You know no one ever gets this close to me without havin a few bones broken? Ive got bones to spare. Her eyes narrowed but a smile crept through her lips. Very slightly. He terrified her. This stranger. The blues man. This foreigner. The guitarist. He was too gentle. His eyes were too kind. He couldnt hurt her or he wouldnt. And he was so fast. His mouth was pressed against hers before she had even blinked. But she was kissin him back. Kissin like they were teenagers, like they had known each other for lifetimes. It fit, their lips. She could hear her heart poundin in her ears and her cheeks flushed red with blood. Then he pulled away. You never told me your name, he said lookin intuh her eyes but this time not waitin to see the flicker. You never told me yours neither. He laughed, softly, like a schoolboy with a crush. Dont. Dont what? She leaned intuh him this time. Dont tell me your name, she said mimickin his quietness. With an unidentified ease the guitarist lifted her from her waist and placed her on top of him, legs fallin to either side of his and the chair. There was a seamless removal of clothin from above the belt while they kissed, breathin heavy. A flurry of hands moved along warm skin, explorin foreign territory with the elation of a kid on a joyride. The calluses on his fingertips, consequences o years of bein awful and wonderful at the guitar, lingered out

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