Blog : Beautiful-Things

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Leaving Our Mark

Leaving Our Mark By Matthew Young   |  August 24, 2015
In the weeks before we end our active service in the Marine Corps my roommate, Caleb, and I slug Wild Turkey in our barracks room, and then decide to celebrate our impending freedom by burning down the thirty-foot-high diving platform a mile away off Christianitos Road.

The Killer Bee

The Killer Bee By Eric LeMay   |  August 17, 2015
My dad took me to pick it up in an empty school parking lot, at night, like a drug deal.

Stay With Me Awhile

Stay With Me Awhile By Gina Williams   |  August 10, 2015
When Pete at last called Helen to request a visit, she said yes with both reluctance and anticipation. They hadn't seen one another since her diagnosis. Pete was her last boyfriend and because she was terminal, would always be the final man in her life, the only remaining thread of sexuality, desire. She seemed angry he'd waited so long to call. "I know he's just afraid ofÖ..you know, it being difficult," she said. "But hell, I am too."

The Smell of Old Books

The Smell of Old Books By Pia Ghosh Roy   |  August 3, 2015
There was a row of shops where the flyovers now swirl and swoop. The shops were cubes of tin and plywood on a strip of pavement in heaving, humid Calcutta. They stood under gulmohar trees; fire-red petals with shade as cool as coconut water. In this shade, on low wicker stools, sat the men who owned these shops, playing cards, passing time. They were gatekeepers of old books.

House Call

House Call By Andrew Bomback   |  July 27, 2015
I never learned the cat's name, although Tom mentioned it when I visited him in his apartment. "Donít mind Mr. Something," he said of the cat whose name was Mr. some other word. Tom lived just five minutes away from my house, and his wife said his legs were so swollen that it would require a 911 call to get him to my office. This was the only house call Iíve ever made. A year later, Tom was hospitalized with sepsis.

White

White By Jennifer Bowen Hicks   |  July 20, 2015
We no longer remember the sound of birdsong or the feel of dry pavement beneath our feet, but we walk to school anyway because school is the place we're meant to walk to on Tuesday mornings. Temperatures register -23 below zero if you donít count the wind chill, and I always count the wind chill.

Crush

Crush By Abby Frucht   |  July 13, 2015
When I was married I crushed on another man. He played a pan flute while riding his bike past the reservoir and I stepped into his path feeling reckless one evening on one of my walks. Our groping shouldn't have lead to anything more. But I was wearing a coat that had just one button, a suede coat with bright scarves I'd sewn to the hem via uneven stitches, and when we spun to the ground the scarves tangled around us, the trail aglow with crushed mulberries, my babies damp in their beds in the house down the road where their dad sat reading.

Guppy

Guppy By Kavitha Yaga Buggana   |  July 6, 2015
Under a sky of half-moon and stars, my husband, my son, and I sit crouched near the small pond in our garden. Moss undulates in the water. A moist breeze hints at the monsoon that will soon descend on our city in South India. My son has fourteen orange- and coffee-colored guppy-fish swimming in a thin plastic bag. He is waiting to empty the little, translucent creatures into the garden pond.

Trash Collection Day

Trash Collection Day By Melissa Grunow   |  June 29, 2015
Every Friday morning in the summer I would sit on the carpet in front of the giant picture window facing the street and watch the trash collectors empty cans and toss bags into their giant truck. The window opened low to the floor, so I could sit cross-legged with my nose just above the sill, my eyes and forehead barely visible to the road stretched in front of me.

What I Made

What I Made By Brad A. Modlin   |  June 22, 2015
I want to be a man who pays each bill the day it arrives. I want to be a man who knows the precise location of every object in his backpack. I want to be a man who knows about carpentry.

October Moon on Lake

October Moon on Lake By Sydney Lea   |  June 15, 2015
I have seen too many such moon-rises in seven decades to write a poem about this one. But isnít that what Iíve always done? Perhaps, yet I wonít write it, with its reference to Selena or to some familiar musical standard--"That Old Devil Moon,Ē say--or whatever. To imagine such allusions is to feel self-contempt, as if I had written about butterflies as tokens of fragility.

His Pockets

His Pockets By Deborah Nedelman   |  June 8, 2015
At four he is an earnest collector. He keeps his secrets in his pockets and leaves them for me in the laundry basket. As I unroll the cuffs of his too-long-yet pants, sand dribbles out, a clump of mud caking the cloth. Even if all is quiet, I remain cautious. Experience has taught me to turn the pant legs out to see if anything moves. Has he captured some critter and forgotten it there? Using my thumbs, I push the fabric inside out. Iím careful to do this over a container.

Summer Night

Summer Night By Jill Gerard   |  June 1, 2015
On warm August nights, I take out my contacts and go outside, find a spot to lie down, and look up through the basket of live oak branches.

Inheritance

Inheritance By Beth Howard   |  May 25, 2015
My father loved a good roaring fire and attended the ones he built with great reverence, as if viewing a cremation. But, after all, he knew his wood. In his 70s, dad bought a gas-powered log splitter and would perch on a stump for hours, loading one log after another, pulling the lever to engage the iron wedge, which descended with a crushing force to split the logs.

Taking an Art Class

Taking an Art Class By Kelley Rossier   |  May 18, 2015
We are given a project to do. Here are the parameters. Lines parallel. Lines perpendicular. Clear relationships. Mass, plane, line. No diagonals. I put the safety glasses on. I cut the wood. I use the joiner. I plane the wood. I glue the pieces together. I use clamps on every side. Make sure there is no give.

Tiny Purple Flowers

Tiny Purple Flowers By Sarah Broderick   |  May 11, 2015
My mother stands at the grocery store counter. Tiny purple flowers rest tucked behind her ear. They have wilted as we walked through the aisles, comparing prices per ounce and coupons to sales. Now, the flower petals are withered balls of lint. They droop down on spindly stems as dry and thin as discarded threads. "Isn't my mommy pretty?" I say. I plucked those lavender stars, clusters that sprout from the cow pies that litter our fields, especially for her.

Road Warrior

Road Warrior By Kim Todd   |  May 4, 2015
Someday, the newspaper photographer told me as we drove back from the fire, he was going to do a photo essay on all those raptors along the highway. "All the what?" I asked. But just like that, they were everywhere.

First Walk

First Walk By Lisa Hadden   |  April 27, 2015
It is my first walk in the woods, four months after the accident. I insisted. Cautiously hiking the old deer run behind our house, my husband stops, and holds me in a bear hug; chest to chest, heart to heart. This is his way of wordlessly expressing his concern for me on this blustery, wintry January evening in Michigan.

A Walk on Wooded Isle

A Walk on Wooded Isle By Stephanie Friedman   |  April 20, 2015
Spring had been so long in coming. At last tree buds, gray-green and plump, were braving the frigid sunshine. I had left my office in only a thin windbreaker, with just my keycard in my pocket, my cold hands clasping the cuffs of my sleeves. I had intended to circuit the Japanese garden--gravel path, half-moon bridge, stepping stones across the dry pond--then go back to work. Instead I pressed on into the less kempt part of the park.

Fearless Eye

Fearless Eye By Robin Schauffler   |  April 13, 2015
I sat on the plank deck of a house in the forest and shared my watercolors and brushes with my nine-year-old nephew. I painted the chestnut-colored ponderosa pines with their puzzle-piece bark. I painted the blue morning sky and white clouds. My nephew said, "I want to paint that sunset we saw last night!"

Surf Check

Surf Check By Heather Hansman   |  April 6, 2015
November on the coast. Cracking cold and painfully clear. We cram 12 of us in a one-bed cabin on the Quileute reservation, not caring about personal space or what is whose. In the morning we're up as soon as the sun starts to slide its slow half-circle around the horizon. It feels like you can see to Japan if your eyelashes don't freeze shut first. We pour weak coffee, put on puffies, and scramble stiff-legged over the driftwood toward the break.

Letter to a Ladle (Stainless Steel, $18.99, Purchased Three Years Ago)

Letter to a Ladle (Stainless Steel, $18.99, Purchased Three Years Ago) By Matthew Olzmann   |  March 30, 2015
How glorious: the invention of soup! How stunning: the invention of fire to heat the soup! I've watched the water boil. I've witnessed my wife and her designs of scallions and carrots. I've studied the smell of garlic and cayenne pepper. It filled our hallways with the history of our families. Not once--Dear Ladle--did you fail to do the one thing you do.

Highway 13

Highway 13 By Diana Spechler   |  March 23, 2015
"Time after Time" played on the radio, static through icy Colorado. I wished I loved the man I was driving toward the way Cyndi Lauper loved someone once.

Fireflies

Fireflies By Jody Keisner   |  March 16, 2015
Up in the air are hundreds of fireflies, like scattering sunlight. Weóme and the man I've been seeingópedal our bicycles through dusk on the Keystone Trail in eastern Nebraska. Neighborhood playgrounds and thickets of trees line either side of the cement pathway.

Grace

Grace By Aaron J. Housholder   |  March 9, 2015
"Thank you," I tell the manager, "for taking my order so late." The sizzle of the grill frames my words. "I appreciate it." "Not at all," he says. Sweat curls his hair. "Is a good time. Weíre still open."

Red Wings

Red Wings By Iris Graville   |  March 2, 2015
A familiar sound breaks through the morning quiet as my dog and I head out for our usual walk alongside a rocky beach and the marsh that drains into it. Without even looking up, I recognize the rhythmic thwap, thwap, thwap overhead. Itís from the main rotor blade of a helicopter, airlifting someone from the rural island where I live to an emergency room on the mainland.

Army

Army By Ron Riekki   |  February 23, 2015
In southern Spain, in the military, in December, I once danced in a field of sunflowers. Or not danced, so much as sang.

Motorcycle Riders

Motorcycle Riders By Liza Jagoda Allen   |  February 16, 2015
On the back of your motorcycle, somewhere between Leadville and Castle Rock, I plan our future together as we ride along jagged eggshell cliffs overlooking canyons whose gaping mouths open to swallow anything that falls.

Bananas

Bananas By Melissa Cronin   |  February 9, 2015
While I eat lunch with my father today, he stares at the bunch of bananas in front of him. "They're so beautiful," he says. "They're so yellow." He smiles, then giggles. Who is this man?

Catching Snowflakes

Catching Snowflakes By Colleen Warren   |  February 2, 2015
I remember childhood school days, just learning about the singularity of snowflakes, no two alike, the teacher said. At home, my sisters and I duplicated her classroom experiment, substituting white paper rubbed thick and waxy with black crayon for the black construction paper she had used. I stood in the snow with my arms stretched out before me, holding that crayoned paper out like a plate to catch sugared delicacies as they drifted down.

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