My Life: A Memoir
I told my boyfriend I’d never have children because I’d be too afraid I’d eat them.
“What the fuck?” he said.
“Yeah, you know,” I said. “I’m actually writing a memoir about my life and all my problems right now. Let me read you what I have so far.”
Ivy Hall Review Features Sybil McLain-Topel
Lavender No. 19
La lavande me manque.
Lavender is missing to me. This is the French construction of the phrase ‘I miss lavender.’
When I say I miss my lover, I say in English, I miss you. In French I say, you are missing to me: tu me manques. Listen for nuance. The noun for me, myself, and I now rests in shade. My lover takes on full sun. Tu me manques.
Subtle. Thought. Shift.
My mother says that God told her to name me Melody. She says He led her to a verse:
Ephesians 5:19 “…singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”
In Isaiah 43:1, God tells Israel, “I have called you by name; you are mine.”
If I believe in this sort of thing, my existence is stamped with divinity; the name Melody was chosen by Jehovah.
Did He know people would have such difficulty pronouncing it?
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.”
The dark leather couches are situated to encourage conversation and interaction. Sectioned off, it accommodates no more than five to six people but more could squeeze in. Men, sometimes with a mix of women, but mostly men sit on supple leather chairs and couches and talk. “Man, I just lost my job today.” One friend orders the newly jobless a scotch. Another goes to his private humidor locker and pulls out the Cuban he’d been saving for himself and gives it to his disheartened comrade. Another hands him a card and says, “Call me tomorrow, I might have something for you.”
The Otis Complex
I flick a soggy cigarette butt off the lip of Otis’ bejeweled dinner bowl before dumping the mush into the crowded sink. You can’t tell it apart from shaved yucca skin or three day old guac.
“Ma, you trying to kill the dog again?” I yell into the dim, half opened bathroom. It’s obstructed by her yellow scooter and a tower of records. “He ain’t a smoker, you know.”
The phone rang and Marian picked it up, tangling her hand in its spiraling plastic cord. “Hello?” she asked.
Just like the other week, there was no answer. Marian’s thin lips got even thinner and her left eye twitched. Jim kept saying she needed to eat more potassium, but Marian knew that wasn’t it. She needed a new hobby.
I spent five months looking at Mrs. Wendal before I saw her. I noticed her flowers before I saw her eyes.
There were alien interpretations of the Egyptian lotus, the Nymphyaea Cerulaea. Pointed silver petals,like elongated triangles, fanned out around the circumference of red and orange centers and crossed over into a third dimension, waving as if the breeze would carry them off like wished-away spokes of a dandelion. The flowers, miniature sunbursts, hung suspended around what I could not perceive to be a body.
The circus was in town. Savoy waited in line for popcorn, smelling the butter, salted caramel, and cotton candy wafting out the snack bar window. It was the last stop before entering a world of fantasy. Its rigid walls looked like a child’s lemonade stand and stood in stark comparison to the flimsy and almost floating fabric of the tent behind it. The tent moved like waves in the wind, like the flickering flame fighting a birthday boy’s blow, but it stood tall, proud even.
By Caroline Huftalen
I was counting fence posts. That’s what I was doing the day that boy, well I guess you could call him a man, came up on your granddaddy’s property. He had a secret, and I had a quiet mouth and a pension for choosing to do the wrong thing. My guess is that he knew all this. I pictured him walking along all the ranches and just looking for a girl like me: all pigtailed and frizzy, in a pair of overalls that were rolled up over my rubber boots. I was twelve. I didn’t care a damn what I looked like, I only wanted to play around in my head and wander that mysterious piece of land.
By Bridget Walsh
The postcards stopped coming in August. The last one sent was laying face up on the kitchen table looking out of place.
“Always thinking of you. Love, Mom and Dad,” it said.
I traced her heavy handwriting with my finger and tried to remember the last real conversation we had. It was on my wedding day that she held me in her arms and told me that I had made a mistake.
By Gabi Santelices
We know this night is different. He does not belong here, just outside our reach. We stretch, grasp at the darkness, and try to disperse it. We see the intensity of his glare at the end of our misty reach. His face denies us, covered in black matte hair. His eyebrows are thick; we cannot see his eyes.
That was Then. This is Now
By Trina Love
It punctured my thoughts like shattered glass.
Making holes for my soul to slip through.
Particles, specks of me landed in several directions.
That was then.
Eventually I found the pieces of me
that I’d lost underneath an umbrella of failed attempts.
The remnants of my spirit that slipped away snuck back into me
one evening when the sun and the moon simultaneously
bathed the sky.