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A Public Space

No. 05

Cattle Haul: the debut of Jesmyn Ward; Leslie Jamison reads Vladimir Propp; Ian Chillag on Kurt Vonnegut; Zoe Ferraris listens in on the secret phone calls of Saudi women; Lucy Begg illustrates Richard Linklater's treehouse; Peter Trachtenberg on narratives of suffering; Steve Featherstone's photographs from Afghanistan; stories by James Lasdun, Wells Tower, and Ernst Weiss; poems by Fanny Howe, Caroline Knox, Andrew McCord, Kevin Young, and more.

Table of Contents


If You See Something


Just after the first Gulf War, I moved to Jeddah with my husband.

Zoe Ferraris


If You See Something

Shark Means Knife

The story goes that as a child my mother finished a book every day.

Ian Chillag


If You See Something

Off the Pages and Onto the Sidewalk

Ten p.m. in Shimokitazawa, a neighborhood of circuitous alleyways ten minutes or so west of central Tokyo by train.

Roland Kelts


If You See Something

The Revenge of the Angry Black Artist

Years ago, when I was a Disney Screenwriting Fellow (a program that evolved out of the need for Disney never again to be dead last in employing women and writers of color, probably more out of corporate embarrassment than enlightened self interest), I had the thankless task, they didn’t even own the rights, of adapting Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

Jervey Tervalon



The Rat Ship

If I am to explain how, because of my father, I became the person I am, I must begin with the story of my father, with the man who had a determining influence on my youth.

Ernst Weiss



The High Window

These long white days / Have gone by with no recording.

Fanny Howe



The Detour Across the Delaware

Inebriating. We’re inebriating. Seasons are / clay windows, we climb through them / all radiant.

​Tomaž Šalamun



I Don’t Burn

Dear Darkness—consider this / my last attempt / to reach you.

Kevin Young



The Ghost of Edna Lieberman

They visit you in the darkest hour / all of your lost loves.

Roberto Bolaño



Two Poems

Renunciation / is an evolved form / of desire

Pam Rehm



Two Poems

I packed up the books

Caroline Knox




It’s five o’clock, we’re walking in the sun / Down an over-wide, under-ridden road

​Andrew McCord



Two Poems

The pieces that broke off the Song Dynasty / horse as it was crated from Hong / Kong to Norfolk

Angie Yuan



Slow Demolition, Huron and State

The plaster / will come down in blue dust / with these hoses turned upon it / and the sun in its house

​Aaron McCollough



The Virtues of Birds

Two birds came upon a crust of bread lying on the path through the woods.

Craig Morgan Teicher



De La Rue’s Envelope Machine

With output of twenty-seven hundred envelopes an hour where prior but three thousand were made a day, cry when you consider the empty envelopes piled on each of our desks

Robyn Schiff



The Old Man

The two women appeared in Conrad’s office late one afternoon in March.

James Lasdun



Field Notes from a Treehouse

"Do not worry if you have built castles in the air . . . that is where they should be . . . now put the foundations under them . . ." —Henry David Thoreau

Lucy Begg



Door in Your Eye

That first evening in my new city, I had a phone call from my father, wanting to know how I was getting on.

Wells Tower



Cattle Haul

It’s easier driving through the country, especially when you doing a cattle haul.

Jesmyn Ward




There is a tiny Southerner inside me.

Samantha Hunt



Heads Up: Military Graffiti in Kuwait and Afghanistsan

Last July, I was stranded for a week at Camp Ali Al Salem, a U.S. military base in Kuwait.

Steve Featherstone



Lessons for a Dead Hare

In one of the texts in The Notebook of Things that Are Difficult to Explain, the blind poet speaks of a certain event that took place in an institution known as the Last Citadel.

Mario Bellatin



Morphology of the Hit

We begin with the first function.

Leslie Jamison



The Grief Work

“All his life Peter was afraid of flying,” Sally Goodrich said.

Peter Trachtenberg

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