Issue 36: Winter 2017



by David Huebert

This is the third story in a linked trilogy, all three installments of which are published in The Puritan. Part two, “Silicon Giddy” appeared in our 32nd issue, Winter 2016, and “Bellyflop” appeared in our 28th issue, Winter 2015. Eds.   Imagine it’s you facing the loss of the still-ripening cherries between your legs. Imagine you’re the black-and-white splotched Jack Russel mix with a knuckle in your tail from getting run over by a mountain bike. Imagine you have no idea that a vet might soon be opening your scrotal sac and scraping out your testes and your vas deferens like a chef spooning seeds from a cantaloupe. Imagine you have to wear a cone on your head to keep you from licking your own stitched and scabby genital region. A cone to stop you from sniffing and tonguing the sore and pungent spots you desperately want to …

Body and Heart.

by A.M. Lang

The amount of time that the water is in contact with the coffee grounds is another important flavor factor … if you’re not happy with the taste, it’...

Big Spoon.

by Susan Sanford Blades

I met Rocco the day I fell up the stairs and spilled Mom’s groceries onto the third floor of her building. A shift’s worth of wages at the coffee sh...


Two Poems.

by Canisia Lubrin

Aftershocks for Dionne Brand   No rescue. Escape was the farthest She could come, away from that island—that chance she would take on that stone in her hand, on a place with no one she knew. So perhaps the signs were all reflex, the habit of aftershocks Bare in a new world, she was given what could not last without the lye of her, bloodlines, anyplace recalled, memory had etched the tunnels of a nameful hundred, rivers gulling the roads, before the miracle of driftwood, malls & factories, rooms pregnant with all. Familiar, the ranking plumes that vanish— leaving us curled— what we long for is hard to explain. Like false pentameters credo on our cupid’s bow, what wild continent names another place that sees the barren clearing claimed & loved. What psalms us to spend our many selves in code or water, vernacular & …

Happy Little Nobody.

by Karthik Purushothaman

I’m reading an actress call the vampire movies her day job that lets her go independent at nightfall and brand herself a nobody in her hardcover bac...

Two Poems.

by Tanja Bartel

The Nature of Nature Look around. Everyone at this party is someone’s horrible childbirth story. I’m either an expert or a one-trick pony. Either wa...


by Sarah Wolfson

    In our dreams the moose gets up and backs away and away and away, his leg as it should be, his hulk unbumped. The smell of cedar is al...

Four Poems.

by Sennah Yee

The Beach You ask if my swimsuit is new and I say no. I press a shell to my ear and all I hear is blood.             &...


by Aaron Boothby

Body     a thing in congealed dark     the static glimmer between     I     the least ideal transmitter nature’s yet made     Nerves speak with diff...

Parade for Two.

by Ben Gallagher

    Released from hospital we walk the little dog whose voice I hate trying out words on each other to see if they match a feeling In psyc...

Two Poems.

by Michelle Brown

Italian Vacation The trees bow with dead lemons. Chickens crash in the bushes. My dreams are full of them. An earthquake shook the sphere and seawat...

Two Poems.

by Robin Richardson

  Autobiography As A Child In Second Person   After considerable something just beyond your ability to recall, you’re human. Not jus...


Toasting the Apocalypse.

by Rebecca Salazar

It is barely five in the morning, and I am at the Fredericton airport. For those who have never been through the departures lounge of the Fredericton airport, imagine a single gate in any major airport, add two usually half-empty vending machines, and a runway the size of a grocery-store parking lot. Much about New Brunswick fits the same description: small, lacking in resources, sometimes still functional. Since I first moved here for graduate school, I have been surprised by the resilience of the small, often isolated, and sometimes insular literary community that exists in New Brunswick. The province’s writers tend to punch far above their collective weight. I hesitate to stereotype these writers, many of them friends, with ye olde Maritime stoicism. There is more to it than that. But I can’t ignore the difference between literary gatherings in Atlantic Canada and those in …


by Meg Thompson

I am tired of being brave. —Anne Sexton   I angled my body so I could write on the board and still see my students, as we had been taught in trainin...


Telling the Untold: An Interview with Vanessa Hua.

by Allegra Hyde

Vanessa Hua, a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, is the author of Deceit and Other Possibilities (Willow Publishing, 2016). She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, and the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award for fiction. She has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf, Aspen Summer Words, Voices of Our Nation, Community of Writers at Squaw, and Napa Valley writing conferences. Her work has appeared in New York Times, FRONTLINE/World, PRI’s The World, The Atlantic, ZYZZYVA, Guernica, and elsewhere. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and twins. Although Vanessa Hua and I have yet to meet in person, we both published our debut story collections within days of one another this fall, which seemed indicative of a literary kinship. Hua’s stories expose the complicated realities faced by immigrants in America, …


Every Possible Problem in the World: A Review of The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen.

by Anita Lahey

The Heat of the Day Elizabeth Bowen Penguin London, U.K. 1987 (originally published in 1948), 330 pp., 9780140088533 Allow me to present a woman at a window, buffing her nails, her blue blouse gathered softly around her hips, hair set in pleasing curls, loose yet defined. Her head is slightly bowed, her nose and chin drawn into points that soften just shy of harshness. Her focus on her hands masks a determined excavation within: the cloudy, imperiled hunt for clues to a conundrum or perhaps an entire life. Harold Knight’s 1933 portrait, The Manicure, graces the cover of my 1987 Penguin reprint of Elizabeth Bowen’s 1948 novel The Heat of the Day, set in London during World War II. The image, which caught my eye in a used bookstore before I’d ever heard of Bowen, embodies much of what I’ve come to love about …