River Teeth Issue Preview 23.1

November 30, 2021

River Teeth Issue Preview 23.1


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Editor's Notes Jill Christman

"Most of seeing is mustering the willingness to look, and even then, there’s so much that resists our gaze. Grief, for example, or trauma; memories that cause us shame or make us feel regret; rage, identity, anything and everything that puts us at risk to lose something we depend upon—a concept of ourselves, a well-practiced narrative of the past, a social position, a dream for the future, a feeling of safety, or most terrifying of all, a person we love."

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"Snow Hymns" Michael Garrigan

I had left, but I hadn’t gone far enough. I wanted to keep shedding that skin, loosening the grayed rope. I wanted to do something, see something, experience something that would clearly indicate I had become someone else, that I had left and changed and am now this.

"Liver Lady and Anything Man" Aaron Landsman


But on this night—I want you to picture it—this lady is unaware of anything around her. She gestures, leans, and regales. He listens as much as he can, then periodically stares out the window into the quiet street, his face an untranslatable combination of appeals.

"Security" Bret Lott

I took in a breath, smelled the age and majesty and humility of this place, all inside the scent of this incense: we were safe.

"Side B" Sarah Layden

The music on the tape goes from loud to soft and back again. Take notes, I tell them. You will forget your life over and over again. This is how you find it, how you turn it into something new. The tension between what you share and what you don’t. The said and the unsaid, playing tug-o-war with a fraying rope.

"The Polaroid Baby and the Shape of Time" Jessica Johnson

I was growing into the shape my mother made when her posture bent toward the needs of others. Because C. was herself, because I was in love with her, my daughter was a powerful kind of gravity.

"A Clean Burn" Tiffany Isaacs

Picture this: the black char of destruction, California scrub oaks burned into ash, the ground cast in shadow and coal. And then in the center, where it burned the hardest, one pristine spot. I suspect this is what we want when we long for fire.

"Boom: A Story of Erasure, Accident, and Exposure in the New Mexico Desert" Tyler Mills

Cameras captured the images we know: the bulbs, the mushrooms, the turrets of clouds. When you are here, in New Mexico, where the potential for infinite destruction all began, you feel like you are in a photograph. But seconds still tick at the wrist like blood sluicing through a vein.

“Another True Story" Marion Peters Denard

He understands in a glance. He swings the Doc Martens at Jonathan’s head, making clear contact. I’d never seen my father hit anyone, before or since. I cling to this. In that moment, that one moment alone, my father was angry, and he was angry at the right person.

"Crime Spree" Desiree Cooper

Sometimes we all believe, if just for a moment, that we are entitled to something that isn’t ours. We imagine what it would be like to just snatch it—a diamond ring, an uncashed check, a toy, a lost wallet—and keep the spoils for ourselves.

"Nest" Jan Shoemaker

I want to do better by Larry. I need to make peace with that loose cannon, No Idea, in order to do better This Time. The chances to serve love are not, after all, infinite.

Contributors' Notes

Photo Credits, Courtesy of Public Domain Sites:

Unsplash: Landon Parentau, Joonyeop Baek, Elijah Austin, the blowup, Laura Ockel


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