Blog : Beautiful-Things

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Waiting for Owls

Waiting for Owls By Mark Liebenow   |  February 8, 2016
Evening returns to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the land cools. Day follows the sun across the valley floor and up into the mountains in the west. Birds settle down for the night.
Keywords: nature  |   6 comments

Back Aisles

Back Aisles By Ashley Hutson   |  February 1, 2016
The library building was my body like your children are your body, like your spouse is your body. Its wood and glass grew out of my chest. It came with a key and code.
Keywords: library  |   4 comments

The Art of the Drought

The Art of the Drought By Catherine Rankovic   |  January 25, 2016
The art of the drought is to reduce all things to their outlines. Leaves fall. Plants skeletonize. Dry outlines of worms and lizards, victims of the heat, are marked on the asphalt.

The Begonia is Blooming

The Begonia is Blooming By Danielle Harms   |  January 18, 2016
You leave home. You move in and out of apartments in faraway places. None have a yard, and you dream about the green spaces of your childhood, where cottonwood floated between trees and covered the screen porch like a fleece. Then you move to the English Basement with a brick patio. You fill it with potted plants. Your begonia becomes a riot of pink petals. You touch its waxy leaves. It makes you feel wild again. It makes you feel more whole.

Sewing Notions

Sewing Notions By Karen Zey   |  January 11, 2016
After the funeral, my sister spreads the contents of our mother’s wooden sewing box across the kitchen table. Mom gave up sewing as she faded in old age, but she clung to these bits and bobs. We gaze at the jumbled spools of thread, loops of white elastic and packets of seam binder in yellowed cellophane. I spot the jar of odd buttons, a nest of tiny jewels from the past.

Recovery

Recovery By Maria Jerinic   |  January 4, 2016
Construction resumes in my Las Vegas neighborhood. The trauma of recession recedes. Now pick-up trucks, cranes and other wheeled monstrosities I cannot name block the streets as custom homes begin to take shape. "That's great" people say. "Just think of your property values." "No more of those ugly empty lots." Except that I love those lots...

Visitation

Visitation By Kelsey E. Moore   |  December 28, 2015
On the porch, under a Blood Moon, our fire is dying down, so we wear wool blankets over our shoulders. We’re drinking cider warmed in a pan on the stove, splashed into mugs with whiskey. This cold is still new, still exhilarating; the season is shifting, like the roll of a wave against your body. Out across the salt marsh, somewhere deep in the pines, the coyotes begin to howl. It is a sound that is hard not to love, even as it ripples through you, awakening a fear that sleeps at the base of your spine.

The Natural Resonant Frequency of Glass

The Natural Resonant Frequency of Glass By Meg Senuta   |  December 21, 2015
We lingered after dinner in a cavernous ill-lit restaurant that was empty, except for my husband and me, and our two young boys, and a couple who were seated far on the other side of the room. Warm and full, we were in no hurry to suit up for winter, which waited outdoors.

Interruptions

Interruptions By Sheldon Lawrence   |  December 14, 2015
Seek stillness. Close your eyes, relax in the lotus position, and breathe deeply. But hold on tight. Search every corner of the cosmos and you find only a universe in motion.

The Ladder Tree

The Ladder Tree By Beth Taylor   |  December 7, 2015
Hand-built, smoothed gray with age, the stubby ladder rests against the old apple tree, its gnarled bark accepting the still, hopeful embrace of the rails and rungs once climbed by a child when this tree by its stone wall watched over a field of corn, or was it cows, instead of this fervent jungle – green vines wrapping bushes and spindly trees, sprung from seeds blown down by wind-flung torrents of rain, and allowed to grow, unchecked by the farmer, father of that child, both now long gone, their spirits left behind, lurking in nature’s veils that canopy the path, dappling sun into shade as we walk on a summer's day, wondering: what child, living how, climbed to pick, or to see, so long ago; and accepting, as we wander, our own graying but patient embrace.

Linda on the Beach

Linda on the Beach By Denise Duhamel and Julie Marie Wade   |  November 30, 2015
We don’t know her, the woman who grins and waves as we wander north along Hollywood sand, bedsheets for yoga class billowing in our hands. But maybe, I think, we do know her from somewhere, and it’s not in our nature to be rude, so we wave, too. Linda is flapping like the lifeguard’s flag. Linda is talking about her lost keys, about her husband in the hospital, about the Marriott that won’t take her back now. We look at each other to acknowledge Linda is crazy, possibly homeless.

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter By Dorothy Rice   |  November 23, 2015
What was that feeling last night, of chasing a thread of thought from sleep to wakefulness, back into sleep again, not quite sure at any moment whether I was fully awake

Here's What Happens

Here's What Happens By Catherine Klatzker   |  November 16, 2015
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE WAITING FOR MORE TEST RESULTS FOR THE SUSPICIOUS SHADOW ON YOUR HUSBAND’S CHEST X-RAY: You give money to homeless people who say they want food. You stick around to talk to them when they seem lonely. You allow those drivers in traffic who are in such a rush to cut in ahead of you. You admit it’s not death that makes you shrivel into yourself and brings up those old whimpering voices pleading for safety; it’s dread of that conversation, of giving permission to one’s life partner to take that journey alone, without you.

In Perilous Times

In Perilous Times By Tami Mohamed Brown   |  November 9, 2015
The Frank Lloyd Wright calendar hangs askew on your cubicle wall, the citrus skylights of July turning right angles into August in an attempt to create unity on a Tuesday morning when you’re wearing stripes and your socks don’t match. Your feet rest on a coil of cords that tangle dangerously under the desk and your coffee cup sits too close to the keyboard without a cover. You shoot a rubber band at a window not meant to open. It’s eleven in the morning and you’ve already eaten lunch. These are signs that we are living in perilous times.

Something Sweet

Something Sweet By Andrea Fisk Rotterman   |  November 2, 2015
I walk the farm of my childhood in search of the sugar maple. I want to trace the brown bark, slide my fingers down its furrows, roll its needle leaf points between my fingers. Beside me, Belle, my dad’s foxhound, holds her noble head high. She catches a scent, shifts into the prairie grass. I wear a light jacket. It’s early April. Forty degrees. Cold north air is losing ground to the surge of warmer southern currents. The sugar maple stands on a ridge alongside the old tobacco barn.

For the Birds

For the Birds By Anjoli Roy   |  October 26, 2015
Birds keep getting lost in my living room. It’s my fault, for leaving the doors open. For answering the knock of valley wind so strong it rips posters off the walls, comes pounding, shaking our wood-framed house with big fists, demanding to be let in. When they come, they’re puffed up in aerial flight, thinking they’ve found a new throughway from the construction site next door to the chicken coop on the other side of our house, only to thump-thump-thump their clavicle-breaking thump against ocean-view windows that just stand there, rude as a closed door.

Cold

Cold By Kate Hopper   |  October 19, 2015
On the hottest days in San Vicente, I sit on the front porch of my host family’s house, sweat dripping from under my arms, dust turning to mud on my salt-streaked legs. I watch the heat shimmer up from the dirt road, dissolving into blue sky. On these days, I long for snow, hunger after the numbing cold of January in Minnesota.

Mercy

Mercy By Lisa K. Buchanan   |  October 12, 2015
The Italian museum had a gory multitude of blood-streaked Jesuses. But in one immense painting, he was flanked by two anonymous thieves--palms nailed, faces obscured, genitals exposed, legs cudgeled by a guard to speed their deaths. In the crowded gallery, I tried to ignore the pointy elbows of audio-tourists, the smells of cranky feet, the eye-splitting camera flash of a stealth rule-breaker--until a museum guard in brass buttons and crisp trousers stood accusingly before me.

Ripple

Ripple By Magin LaSov Gregg   |  October 5, 2015
On a rusted railroad bridge overlooking Ohio’s Rocky River, I stand with my father beneath an ocean blue sky and listen to the water’s murmur. My father removes his glasses and points to a large rock beside the lower bank. "That’s Big Rock," he says. I know Big Rock from a story he has told me, a strand of his story now interwoven with mine. I know my father, as a boy, stood on Big Rock, while neighborhood boys stood across from him, on a narrow cliff ledge, and hurled rocks at him.

Resting Place

Resting Place By Kate Levin   |  September 28, 2015
When we arrive at daycare, I step out of the car and close my door gently, hoping not to startle my son awake. As I open the back door to retrieve him from his car seat, I see the bird.

Hawk

Hawk By Claudia Geagan   |  September 21, 2015
Alone, I stare down the wide notch behind my house where the mountain to the east rolls inward to the west, and the western mountain rolls inward to the east till at last the two converge. A thousand feet below, a ground fog grays the Piedmont, but the sun has risen quite high and the thermals bend the spring-green hardwoods. These are worn mountains, the last mounds of the Southern Appalachians.

Dress Up

Dress Up By Peter Witte   |  September 14, 2015
We were having drinks at a friend's house when my two-year-old entered the room, pantless, sans diaper. Whenever his older sister and her friends played dress up, he'd get silly and play dress down. But this time he was red-faced and crying. I excused myself, brought him to the other room.

Duet

Duet By Gail Folkins   |  September 7, 2015
On a dirt road behind a Midwest farmhouse, John and I walk between last year's corn stalks and the soybeans to come. Although spring appeared in the form of a printed milestone on the calendar, the wind clips and scatters spoken words.

August Garden

August Garden By Gloria Nixon-John   |  August 31, 2015
My August garden has changed overnight, like a middle-aged woman looking into a mirror, asking, When did that happen, or how did this happen so soon?

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 of…..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. "Don’t 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 I’ve 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 don’t count the wind chill, and I always count the wind chill.

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