Tag Archives: South 85 10th Anniversary

Before the Rust

by April Salzano

Summer 2014

The neighborhood playground has been eaten,
oxidized and abandoned. What was
never a good neighborhood is now worse.
One swing and a crooked slide sit at the bottom
of a hill that used to seem steep. We made a game
of shoving our bicycles down riderless,
watching their front wheels turn, head southwest,
wobble, then crash, spokes spinning slower
as they lay on their sides, dead horses, defeated.
I was trying to kill mine so I could have a ten-speed.
That was the year my mom gave me her purple
sunglasses as a birthday present
because she couldn’t afford anything else. The glasses
folded up and fit into a small, circular zipper case.
My shock outweighed my gratitude and I am sorry
to say I did not hide it from her. I had already
been stealing her cigarettes, the long, brown
ones or the ultra thin white variety with flowers
on the filter. My sisters and I smoked, the youngest
only pretending to inhale. That year our mother
was a single parent. She knew poverty
was better than being beaten. There was nothing
she wanted then that she did not already have.

April SalzanoRecent two-time Puschart nominee, April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg, The Camel Saloon, Blue Stem, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.

When I Wore a Yellow Polka Dot Dress

by David Huddle

In the George Wythe High School auditorium,
at “The Boys’ Beauty Contest” in 1958,
I played to the rowdy crowd

as best I could but got only nervous laughs,
a couple of jeers, and mostly
tepid applause.

But here’s what I remember–how serious
Mary Sawyers was helping me
put on my make-up,

Nancy Umberger stuffing my bra with gym socks,
Sarah Parsons grieving over how wrong
my ballet flats

looked with that dress.  T.W. Alley,
our All-State tackle who’d got
his front teeth knocked

out that year–a 260 pound bawdy slut
who turned her back to the audience
and shook it–won,

and every single one of us teenage queens
knew T. deserved it, but still–
and I don’t know why nobody

ever talked about it–backstage, us boys
changing back to the sex
we were used to

and even the girls who’d helped change us–
we were all kind of quiet
and sad.

David Huddle‘s most recent books are Nothing Can Make Me Do This, a novel, and Black Snake at the Family Reunion, a collection of poems.  He’s a native of Ivanhoe, Virginia, and he makes his home in Burlington, Vermont.

What I Remember

by Carl Boon

August 6, 1945

It was the brightest morning in many days.
I saw the factory smoke
from the kitchen window
drifting east toward Fukuyama.

My daughter had cleaned the windows
on Saturday. We’d grown displeased
with the soot, what the firebombs
brought from Myoshi and Shobara.

I was putting the breakfast dishes away.
Sakura was listening to the radio.
I told her I’d cut her bangs,
for I believed the heat of summer

had made them long, and her wrists
brushed them often from her eyes,
her father’s eyes. He was dead at 8:17
under a lathe in the lumber factory,

lucky, I suppose, because he never felt
that rush of wind, the cup
that crushed Sakura’s jaw, the monsoon
that killed us again in September.

Carl BoonCarl Boon lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. Recent or forthcoming poems appear in Posit, The Tulane Review, Badlands, JuxtaProse, The Blue Bonnet Review, and many other magazines.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Ann Herlong-Bodman

Fall/Winter 2014

Let’s pretend the room is dark.
You on your blue bedspread daydreaming when your
daddy comes swaggering down the hall bringing presents.
Hmm, not here since Christmas, but he’s come to lead
the singing on Easter, make your church thunder
with hallelujahs, rock with hosannas;

let’s pretend he promises
to watch you in the senior play, and you slip out front
to take a peek, but he’s not there. Not that you expect
a miracle, but let’s say he appears in the second act:
your dead-beat father, ashen in the stage lights,
new Afro, his deep brown face reminding you so much
of yourself, you forget your lines, forget how lonely you always are.

Then, one day
peeling peaches for a cobbler—crumbling sugar, flour,
and more sugar in a bowl and smearing sweet salted butter over
everything, taking your time when a door slams, and there he is,
smelling like Wild Turkey and Old Spice, you blinking
at white sharkskin and gold incisors, the loss of all the

years, when the knife leaves your hand,
clatters to the floor, and Gran appears, lifts the hem of her apron,
fans her face, speaks slow like she’s from
high class Southern soil: Every girl need a daddy, but this girl
walking in the light. We don’t need no trouble,

and your daddy steps back,
catches himself before he falls clear through
the screen door and slips away, you leaning against the table,
thinking this is just pretend, but there’s a knife on the floor,
your gran reaching for the Bible, shaking and praying,
peach juice running down your wrist.

Ann Herlong Bodman

Ann Herlong-Bodman’s work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, including The Courtland Review, Atlanta Review, South Carolina Review, Cold Mountain Review, Main Street Rag and KaKaLak, anthology of Carolina poetry. She is a former journalist, travel writer, and college teacher whose full-length poetry manuscript was named runner-up in the 2010 SC Poetry Initiative competition. A featured reader at the Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series in Charleston, SC, she lives along the Carolina coast.