Creative Essay / Poetry / Lyric Essay
The Matador Review, Fall 2018
Get out, Mother said, and pulled the Volvo to the shoulder. Daughter got out. Mother drove off. South Florida summer heat, an unknown road, an unknown town; Daughter walked the white stripe. Man in a pick-up truck, man in a semi, man in a Honda, man in a Mitsubishi: Hey sweetie want a ride? Teeth clenched. Eyes to the white stripe. One hour. Two. White-painted combat boots; the asphalt white stripe. Man like a dad in a Lexus: Want a ride? Three days later, Mother returned.
A REVIEW OF ANA MARIA SPAGNA'S UPLAKE
Brevity Magazine, June 15, 2018
"Thinking of my own cabin in the woods, I wonder if it was fear of my ability to sustain fascination with quietude that drove me back to the city. From the porch of her Stehekin home, Spagna, too, hankers for faster internet, multiculturalism, book readings, concerts, subways, restaurants, and museums. Winnowed with levelheaded contemplations, Spagna examines the timeless tension between wonder and stasis. She ponders how, or when, to engage or assuage her desires for novelty in the stillness of a quiet place."
THE SLEEPING PORCH
Under The Gum Tree, October 2017
"My body shrank to the size of the crumble atop a sugar-dusted doughnut, one I hadn’t tasted in years, and I asked from my crumb-smallness how many times they had kissed. The boy I loved lied. Only once, he said from a far-off distance, like he and my crumb-self were stars apart."
STEPMOTHERS: FROM SINISTER STEREOTYPE TO CONTEMPORARY COUNTER-NARRATIVES
Lilith Magazine, Summer 2016
Cover story feature
"Without biological children of my own, I hang off the side of Rose and Shiloh’s tree like a forkless appendage grafted on later. It’s a wonky tree, but a common enough variety. When I try to envision our particular version, the kids swing from a bandaged broken limb between their mother and father. I like to think that despite the bandages, the added branches from me and (on their mother’s side) their stepfather and stepbrothers make the tree more lush."
Jet Fuel Review, Issue 13
"He hunts satellites and shooting stars. Make a wish, one of us says. We go silent. The night pulses with cricketsong.
This cusp of October is summer’s last hurrah,
and the crickets in the chaparral cannot be still.
Chirp, they cry. I am lost for a breath.
Then, like a prayer:
Keep this man healthy; take care of my man."
CRIMPING THE EDGE
Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, Issue 15
"The thorns from the bushes inflamed my mother’s skin with painful welts, but she was hell bent on taming the wild into a garden, and she reaped the berries for pie and jam. For my mother, gardening, like marriage and motherhood and so much else, was a battle to wage. She also picked raspberries from behind the house near the apricot tree that never gave fruit. "
The Poet’s Billow, July 2016
Winner of the Bermuda Triangle Prize
Pushcart Prize nominee
Best New Poets nominee
"The clouds sweep over the mountains. In their wake, rivulets, debris, and birdsong. It was rain that woke me at 2 a.m., dropped pitched rings on the metal chairs and glass tabletop, duller tap tap taps on the patio brick. The mockingbird started at 4. I clenched my teeth and three corners of the flannel sheet. It was the rain that woke me, but the cold that kept me up."
5 REASONS WRITERS SHOULD MOVE TO TAMPA
Literary Hub, April 13, 2018
"The flash-bang of thunderstorms a hundred days of the year has earned Tampa the dazzling title of Lightning Capital of North America. Yet, the electric city and greater Tampa Bay area also shimmer from the fusion of rich cross-cultural heritages, magnificent flora and fauna, and an ardent grassroots literary community that welcomes new writers--
or old writers seeking a warmer clime."
HOW TO MAKE AN APPLE PIE
From Sac, December 2016
"Stir frequently. Call your stepdaughter Official Stirrer and fish a wooden spoon from the drawer. Feel a little irked that this baking business was her mother’s suggestion. She acts like everyone is her assistant. By making this pie, did you buy in?"
THE PROMISE OF PURPOSE
Lunch Ticket Special, October 2017 (web) / March 2018 (print)
"At its heart, social justice is a question of authority—who has it, what narratives are valued, and whose voices are heard. If LT’s mission is to publish those narratives… my own mission as editor was to hear the narratives of my colleagues on the journal, to value not just the work they did on the journal but what they could contribute to our behind-the-masthead community."
MY MIDDLE SCHOOLER'S MOVING ON TODAY
Role/Reboot June 2014
"It’s a good name, “middle” school. They’re not quite who they used to be, and not quite yet who they’re becoming. We were so haughty at 6th grade orientation three years ago—we thought we knew our girl. But middle school is somewhere and nowhere at once, and like a tilt-a-whirl it shakes you up and spins you silly till you want to puke. Then it spits you out, wobbling on the street, in an dazed aftershock."
LUNCH WITH AN AUSCHWITZ TOUR GUIDE
Moment Magazine, March 2013
“There’s a ski resort nearby,” he continued. “Toward the end of their holiday tourists sometimes wanted to get serious for an afternoon, so I’d bring them to the Camp. They always sang songs on the bus ride there.” He shuffled his cup across the water mark on the table, and then added, “Afterwards, on the ride back to the hotel you could hear a pin drop.”
FORGIVENESS AFTER AN AFFAIR
Role Reboot, April 2013
"Maybe, ultimately, optimism is what makes us hang around too long. Then at the very end, in our rush to be free, or our attempt to hold on, we wreak havoc. Over the years, as I made my way through layers of healing, I discovered my own culpability."
HOW I CAME TO ACCEPT MY PARTNER'S EX-WIFE
Role Reboot, March 2013
"You can see the faint blue of her early words on the palimpsest’s dry-erase surface. Shiloh never cares about the remnants of her past projects, and I find them strangely precious. I try to learn from her. The blue traces on her white board are like the girls’ heights we pencil in on the kitchen doorframe. They are markers of time passing, and growth."