Posts Tagged: Winter 2012

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Online Feature: “Conversation with Thorax” by Alissa Nutting

It began as a blind date. I nearly didn’t approach the table when I saw him sitting alone at the table we’d agreed on—the one on the left wall next to the bathrooms. I always insist upon this table for blind dates in case I need to cut the night short by feigning diarrhea.

He was a pale and prominently jointed man, each of his bones exaggerated by thinness. As we chatted, I stared at the huge knuckles on his fingers—they made me think of doorknobs positioned in the middle of long, white socks. He moved them constantly, every digit on his hand, working them across the table’s surface as though he were typing. They were industrious. He made neat, geometric piles of the crumbs left by his soda crackers. Small bits of napkin were grouped to look like a hill of salt.

He was an entomologist. He studied bugs.

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Online Feature: “Disappearing Rabbits” by Anne Owen Shea

There are things your mother will do for you that no one else will: cut crusts off your bread, sew together two soft scraps of cloth to make a blanket for your bed. She will allow you to stay home in the house when you get older because she likes having you around. Mothers want you to be close to them. They buy you gifts, a rabbit that you think is female at first but then turns out to male, a cross necklace for your first communion, a music box with a ballerina on a spring that twists in circle when you wind it up. There is a time in your life when anything is possible and then later on a time when nothing is. Eventually the music box stops playing music, and one of your rabbits disappears. And then you lose track of the box completely; the barbed wire cage becomes home to another rabbit that your parents buy to make you feel better. And then eventually the replacement rabbit disappears and there is just an empty cage, a few tufts of fur in the yard after the dogs run away.
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Online Feature: “Doom is the House without the Door” by Jennifer Chang

More than once you wanted me to die.
I kicked the door until its hinges popped.

I collapsed in particle board dust.
I am a sort of door: I know how to swing open

and slam shut. I know how to lock.
You want the house. You want the last crumb

of soul I have left, but I don’t die. I don’t have a body.
I have an elm, fracturing limb by furious limb.

Our tornado summer. My weekly storm,
the heretic assailing the saint.

To swing open: 98º in the barn shade.
To slam shut: you sleep through my glory,

this dawn-constructed confession. To lock:
I do not know. I do not know how

to fill the smallest rooms. Once the sky
could forestall the revelation of the future,

but now I am an orchard forsaken. Ardent.
Ungovernable. Dead branch, fruitlessness, reach

for what I cannot. Not who you were or are,
but who you wanted to be. A wise thing

growing wiser. Ageless heart. To want
was the first survival. To be, the last.


This poem appeared in Indiana Review 34.2, Winter 2012. 

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor):  “Doom Is the House without the Door” gorgeously navigates the dissolve of a relationship and its aftermath. Like the repeated imagery of doors in the poem, Chang’s speaker hinges and stops, back and forth, ever reeling towards this feeling of disaster, loss, a storm to be survived.


Jennifer Chang is the author of two books of poetry, The History jennifer-changof Anonymity and Some Say the Lark, which will be published by Alice James Books in October 2017. Her recent work has appeared in American Poetry Review, A Public Space, Orion, Narrative, and Poetry. She is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at George Washington University and lives in Washington, DC.