No. 20

"Missing is a strange feeling. It doesn’t have to mean you are wishing to be in the place you are missing."—Linda Schenck translates Kerstin Ekman; Marilyn Hacker translates Jean-Paul de Dadelsen; Ander Monson on marginalia; Helen Oyeyemi goes blonde; Nigel Peake listens to the sounds of a city; plus new fiction by Colin Barrett, Eric Bennett, Jonathan Lee, Sara Majka, and Per Petterson; and poems by Kimberly Grey, F. T. Marinetti, Lynn Melnick, and others.


The Last String

No. 20 Kerstin Ekman

There were so many staring faces out there. Women are the worst, she thought. Why is that so? What did we do wrong? But she knew.

High Dive

No. 20 Jonathan Lee

It seemed the kind of day when nothing serious could happen, the weather storybook pure. The kind of day when a man of Mason’s age might fall into an excitingly pointless affair, or combine a number of interesting flavors of ice cream on a single delicate cone.

Being a Blonde

No. 20 Helen Oyeyemi

For my part I was always a little disturbed by him because I’d never heard him tell a lie. That was horrifying to me, like living in a house with every door and window wide open all day long.

Stand Your Skin

No. 20 Colin Barrett

The teachers thought him thick—and Bat was thick—but it was only when some of the other kids dubbed him Book Sniffer on account of how close he put his face to the page that he realized something was up.

A Man Without Shoes

No. 20 Per Petterson

No one in the kitchen really knew what “social aspirations” meant, it had to be a new expression, but Uncle Rolf had read a few books and thought he was damn clever.

Exercise for the Evening

No. 20 Jean-Paul de Dadelsen

Stop. Instead of panting and gasping from second to second / Like a torrent hurtling from rock to rock with no special merit

Two Poems

No. 20 Lynn Melnick

Consider this canvas of central valley splendor

Two Poems

No. 20 Allan Peterson

The ocean is a great thinker
Public Access

Two Poems

No. 20 Kimberly Grey

There are a million griefs flying out there the president says

Regular Organ Transplants Will Make You Live Forever

No. 20 John Deming

I’m scrubbing my face with a peach pit.

Four Problems

No. 20 Noah Eli Gordon

His latest project is a long poem comprised of several thousand similes without subjects. Like golf.

Summer Luncheon for Painters and Sculptors

No. 20 F. T. Marinetti

After a long period of repose, a painter or sculptor who wishes to resume his creative activities at three on a summer afternoon will try in vain to excite inspiration with a traditional, succulent lunch.

Each Day I Get Up

No. 20 Eileen Myles

I think I’m kind of Morrissey / don’t you


No. 20 Sara Majka

When she left he watched her walking in the thick air, her white blouse lit by the moon, like she was a spectral thing moving away from him. But what good is there in keeping the things you don’t want, simply because they are something?

In the City

No. 20 Nigel Peake

The street has a certain length and the pavement a particular depth.

What’s Left of What’s Left

No. 20 Eric Bennett

He says it destroys what it imitates by imitating it. Lonnie says a lot of things I don’t understand. But I know he wouldn’t want me riding in your car. I don’t ride in cars. Where’s your car?


No. 20 Arna Bontemps Hemenway

There is something vaguely troubling to her about men: their energies never seem contiguous.

Dear Defacer

No. 20 Ander Monson

In truth I too defaced—books, surely, furiously, variously, before I understood their worth; but also: walls, homes, computer systems, aboveground pools, school buses, schools, school desks and lockers, bathroom stalls, urinals, garage doors, a bus station, car glass, cars, glass block windows, wineglasses at parties, Mr. Millenbach’s shed.
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