Treehouse

online magazine for short, good writing

This Week in Words – March 3

by Treehouse Editors

Rachel Bondurant

AWP 2018 is gearing up to start in a week. Oh, how I long to be there. Are you going to Tampa? If so, Barrelhouse has a list of things to do and not do at their table. As a side note, if you’re not following Barrelhouse on Twitter, what are you doing with your life?

You know what the world needs? More subscription boxes. Wait, allow me to be more specific. What does the world need? More subscription boxes for writers. I don’t know about you, but I love getting mail. And I especially love getting mail pertaining to this magical, insufferable craft. Scribbler is the one I’ve subscribed to. It’s brand new, brought to you by actual published authors, and full of all sorts of delightful writerly crap. Real talk: I’ve done no research in this area, so if you know of other boxes for writers, stop hoarding the treasure and share with us.

The other day, someone I know casually presented me with a fantastically terrible piece of writing a published author friend of hers wrote. It was a short little sample chapter beginning about a woman, so obviously written by a man that it should have been a joke. It reminded me of this Twitter hall-of-famer. And that led me to discover this. Don’t get me wrong; I’d love for sexism to get solved, but then…who would we laugh at for being terrible?

Update on my almost-a-book-club project: Lolita. If you haven’t read this book, you must. It’s so well-written, and it’s actually funny. Most importantly, it will make you feel all kinds of things that you don’t want to feel. I hate myself for loving it so far, and I’m not sorry about any of it. My friends are thoroughly enjoying the audiobook version, by the way, which is narrated by Jeremy Irons. He played H.H. in the 1997 movie adaptation, so that’s why, but it’s still impossible not to imagine the story being told by Scar from The Lion King.

Brief Encounter: Conceit of Reincarnation

by Treehouse Editors

A.C. Bohleber

The grasshopper needs a home but

Not an afterlife. It is content

It drowns in the rain, falls under the boot of a man

 

Under the claws of a cat, possum, bird

It becomes dirt.

It did such a good job being a grasshopper

 

Perhaps it will become a worm

Then an atom

Then free.


A.C. Bohleber is a recent college graduate located in Louisville, Kentucky. Originally from the South, she attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she won the Ken Smith Fiction Award. She now works a day job, so she can spend money on books, travel, and, of course, rent. In the chaos she makes time to write prose and occasionally poetry.

Found Letter

by Treehouse Editors

Charles Kell

The name looked
familiar, blotted out
by a faint smear
of rain. I stand
in the water, watch
the moving river. Breathe
the silver air. Hold
it there.


Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s ReviewIthacaLit, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Cartographer

by Treehouse Editors

Charles Kell

I live alone in a shadow
on the outskirts of town.
Keep a small jar of lights
        in a dark hole.
Handful of wet clay I call “Arkansas.”
Sleep on a pile of old German newspaper.
Eat green plants all day.
Wear a blue shirt like a night magnet.
Say happenstance is the child of illusion.
Build cities from the ground up.
Then burn them down.
Wend wire into Os for electricity.
Name old things after ghosts. This key is Cardinal,
that yellow string is Will-O-Wisp.
My hands are dry, gnarled branches
from a crab apple tree.
They make the sweetest music ever heard.


Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s ReviewIthacaLit, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

See more poetry from Charles tomorrow.

Mannequin Hat

by Treehouse Editors

Charles Kell

A door is half dented with light.
The carburetor’s clogged with
        ice.
Your music box stops each time
the ballerina’s arms cut glass.
I’ve made you a mannequin hat to match
your mannequin mask.
To begin where there’s no hair, a scar
snags a floating strand.
What looks like white is really sand
colored skin.
It’s silly now to ever wipe
the drop of blood from the alphabet.
Each eye is a helixed black hole.
Like Adorno, it inhabits more than one part
        of speech.
Arc of the angle looks almost to fall.
You can wear the two with nothing else.
Microwave ding the smell of plastic
melting closes your nose.
The drum’s high-hat, spider perched
on your shoulder. The hat box
        cobbled
from sick paste & used newspapers.
Handed it, chicly, to you in the ferment-
ing moonlight. Your black eyes
are ventriloquists. The saké on your raw
lips taste of rust.


Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s ReviewIthacaLit, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

See more poetry from Charles tomorrow.

A Letter to Whoever is Wearing My Boots

by Treehouse Editors

Yael Hacochen

Each year in Ramat Hagolan, at least 1,200 cattle produce milk, feed on grain and oats, give birth, and die when their time comes. When the cows were under Syrian control they were spoken to in Arabic, and after Israel took control of the land in 1973, in the war of Yom Kipor, the cows of that region were spoken to in Hebrew, or Arabic. Depending on the farmer.

In the year 1997 a calf was born. She was the second-born heifer of a prize-winning cow and died by stepping on a mine. This could be where the story ended, if not for a change in the family business. It was exactly the month that the family that owned the calf decided its skin would be used for leather.

They called in a specialist, who was missing half a pinky from his days as an apprentice. The specialist stood in the middle of the green field and produced a sheathed knife. The knife was curved like a quarter moon. He worked with the utmost care so as not to leave a scratch. The skin came off in a single thin sheet, like the parting of red petals.

The leather was loaded onto a truck. It was removed and spread in a large metal container by the two agile hands of the craftsman. He noted that the skin was small in size and heavy in weight: perfect for a small woman’s combat boots.

The leather was laid out on a black rubber cutting mat, and a pattern was drawn. Using a trimming knife, the craftsman traced the leather as one would trace a lover’s back, until four symmetrical pieces lay detached.

The pieces were handed over to a young shoemaker who worked the leather into shape and attached it to a rubber sole. The letter “צ” was stamped at the top, where it was closest to God. A small pocket for dog-tags was added into the strip. Finally, they were shipped to a base in HaKiryaa.

It happened that in the year 2006, a bushy-browed Nagad chose them off the shelf, tied the shoelaces together in a timely manner and threw them in the back of his truck. Fate called me in to see the Nagad, who whispered like a boy with a crush: “I have a surprise for you”.

Friends died in that time. But they wore different shoes. My boots were never shot, never punctured, were never crushed. They only lifted one foot after the other, or both at once.


Yael Hacohen is a PhD student at UC Berkeley. She has an MFA in Poetry from New York University, where she was an ‎NYU Veterans Workshop Fellow, International Editor at Washington Square Literary ‎Review, and Editor-in-Chief at Nine Lines Literary Review. Her poems appear or forthcoming in The Poetry Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Every Day ‎Poets Magazine, Nine Lines, and many more. She was a finalist in the 2015 Glimmer Train Very Short Story Competition, the 2015 ‎Consequence Prize in Poetry, and the 2013 MSLexia Poetry Prize for Women.‎

 

Brief Encounter: Resolution

by Treehouse Editors

Elizabeth Poreba

The trick is
tight focus.

Look down. Stay
granular.

The dropped
stitch, the spot,
the knick, the note,
the knot, the twist—
small things
can be fixed.

When Jesus
at the Jordan
looked up,
all he saw
was heaven
torn apart.

Staying busy
is better.

When wading,
keep your eyes
on the river.


Elizabeth Poreba taught English in New York City high schools for 35 years and now volunteers for environmental groups. Her poems have appeared in Ducts.org, Feminist Studies in Religion, and Commonweal, among others. She has published a chapbook, The Family Calling (Finishing Line Press), and two collections of poems, Vexed and Self Help (Wipf and Stock).