SELECTIONS FROM THE CURRENT ISSUE

Poetry

Bruce Snider, They Will Not Eat the Bird of Paradise

but they will devour the rose, the foxglove,
the lily of the valley, their flat teeth
scouring the crocus to a nub
over cold names and dates. They will not eat
the bird of paradise, but they will
crouch on the cheat grass and mark the iris.

Safiya Sinclair, Good Hair

Sister, there was nothing left for us.
Down here, this cast-off hour, we listened
but heard no voices in the shells. No beauty.

Our lives already tangled in the violence of our hair,
we learned to feel unwanted in the sea’s blue gaze,
knowing even the blond lichen was considered lovely.

Not us, who combed and tamed ourselves at dawn,
cursing every brute animal in its windy mane—
God forbid all that good hair being grown to waste.

Fiction

Becky Hagenston, Rise

The first strange thing was the tooth. Of course I was used to hearing jokes about putting my heart into my work; blood, sweat, and tears, etc. My mother never got tired of telling me that love was the most important ingredient of all, which is of course bullshit. But a tooth? It was the first day I opened the bakery after the funeral—my wife’s mother.

Nonfiction

Nathaniel G. Nesmith, The Life of a Playwright: An Interview with Steve Carter

NGN: You started out as a set designer. Did you learn that at the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan?
Steve Carter: I was not trained as a set designer, but that was the first thing I was attracted to in theater. I was taken to see my first play in 1938. I didn’t know what the play was about. What fascinated me was the set design—the stuff coming down from the flies and out of the wings. I determined then that that was what I wanted to do. I was still under ten, and I started to make models of sets. My mother was very tolerant. We had these things all over the house.

Artwork by Mona Nicole Sfeir