River Teeth Issue Preview 23.2

April 9, 2022

River Teeth Issue Preview 23.2


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Editor's Notes Mark Neely

Headshot of Mark Neely

So how do we live in these uncertainties? How do we hold on to time even as we are rushed downstream through its bends and rapids? One answer is literature, particularly the kind of nonfiction we publish here at River Teeth—writing that strives to tell the truth but understands how that truth is always obscured by the limitations of language and memory.

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"The Circus Train" Steven Harvey

Blurred image of two people walking with umbrellas

I know of no other writer who takes us into this “music of the mind” more intimately than Judith [Kitchen], mulling over ordinary experiences and a lifetime of reading, thinking, and feeling her way through the genre she is practicing. The emphasis is on intimacy—not story, or event, or fact—expressing for us the mystery of being alive.

"While You Are Walking With a Boy You Find a Duck" Sophie Ezzell

Image of a duck

You remember having rubber ducks in your bath when you were too small to be left alone in water. Did you kiss their beaks together? Have them float beside one another, their wings touching? Or did you dunk them below the surface and giggle when their heads emerged from the water, their painted-on smiles unfazed by the rush of violence. 

"Pappy" Andre Dubus III

Pappy was already bent over his plate, his thinning hair matted with sweat, nodding and smiling at us as he chewed. Fern, who was a quiet woman, wished us good morning, and her smile at the four of us seemed to extend into the very plates of food she lay before us.

"Floating" Kathryn Winograd

In the high school yearbook she left in a box to be looked through after her death, she poses with a line of young women in bathing shorts, her arms outstretched, her hands clasped together before her dive into waters I cannot see.

"Tenderness" Mary Milstead

Image of a road

Growing up in Texas with two brothers, my mother spent a lot of time barefoot, and she had tough feet. She remembers being grateful for them, even then at the beginning of the night, before she knew how far they’d have to carry her.

"Parallax" N.D. Brown

The basin’s concave top sloshed with warmed water, water that would separate the redeemed from the lost. Babies are supposed to cry at baptisms; otherwise, why include a ritualistic drowning?

"Tea Cups" Alexandra Teague

Image of trees and a road through a rainy window

Her knowledge had that too stark, slightly uncanny clarity of a nighttime street revealed by Southern sheet lightning. A flash so intense and sky-encompassing, there is no single point of illumination: just sepia daylight, then, as quickly, night again. How could she show that to anyone?

“Learn to Fly" Suzanne Finney

And then we were pointed at the ground, the sky and earth one fragile swirl. How could I have trusted my life to a man I barely knew? And one, as far as I could tell, who really didn’t like me.

"A Father's Guide to the Pulitzer Gallery" Jefferson Slagle

Image of an art gallery

She heads right, towards the newer photos. He goes left, into the past.

On the wall behind them, the world is about to burn.

"Wonder Woman" Constance Adler

Image of the inside of a rib cage

On the day that the doctors strapped me into this mobile prison for the first time, as the metal bars closed around me, my mind went blank with shock. My vocabulary did not contain the words to protest. I was stunned by the trap that I didn’t see coming.

"Truths and Lies" Ira Sukrungruang

Image of a boy on a bikeThis is where I see him, the person I used to be. In a bar with a beer. Looking at him, I wonder how I got where I am. Because the person I used to be is a person I am scared of.

Contributors' Notes

Photo Credits, Courtesy of Public Domain Sites:

Unsplash: Ravi Singh, Mantatip Lilitsanong, Goulet Isabelle, Alex Voulgaris, KAL VISUALS, Elliott Matthews, Meta Zahren, Davyn Ben

Pexels: Hakeem James Hausley, Pedro Dutra, Tim Mossholder

Keywords: 23.2 issue
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