Apeiron Review, Winter 2015, Issue 8

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Apeiron Review is a Philadelphia-based literary magazine featuring prose, poetry, and photography from across the globe. An issue of visceral work that will cause much gnashing of teeth and at least scratch the surface of your heart., each of these pieces showcases an ability to make us feel something deeply, be it loathing, lust, compassion, etc. Our 8th issue features work from all around the world from experienced writers to debut poets. Enjoy.


  • Apeiron ReviewWinter 2015 Issue 8

  • Issue 8, Winter 2015

  • About Our Cover

    City #1

    Photographer: Ray Scanlon

    Words from the photographer:

    Digital equipment has made it easy for me to resume my teenage habit of carrying a camera, and the digital darkroom makes gratification sinfully instant. My eye is a little more discriminating than it was then, when I tried to document everything I saw. Now I try to notice geometry, symmetry, color, but Id passed by this building dozens of times. Some days you get lucky.

  • Its a new year and we all have resolutions to go with it. As writers, we hope to make time to write every day. Thats the goal, right? As a writer, your one job is to write! But then theres the family, your day job, the cat poking at your chair, the dog needing to go out, and you havent called your parents back yet. Balance is something that Im always at odds with. Thankfully, I thrive with change. And theres been quite a bit of change in the few short weeks of 2015.

    Meredith ran away to Mexico and got married. Huge hugs and congratulations to the newly weds. Thankfully, theyve returned to Philadelphia, and Apeiron continues!

    Apeiron-related updates: were still determined to grow as time passes. Were struggling to sort out just how we move from digital to print, and thats meant adding staff and shuffling job functions.

    With this issue, we were blessed with a talented team of first readers. For those unfamiliar with how submissions are processed, our slush team reads all incoming submissions and notes their thoughts. All submissions are then bumped up to Meredith and me to read and review.

    You might not think that this process would be so helpful, but it is. Thanks to our growing staff, our turnaround time has increased drastically and were able to give more feedback. Its always frustrating when you wait months to hear back from a submission. I think Merediths had one out for well over 6 months now. So, thanks go out to our First Readers!

    Changes coming in 2015 shouldnt be immediately noticable to readers. Ill be attempting to grow

    our online presense, and Ill have much more time to spend on making the layouts pretty and such. The hope is that Ill finally develop the ability (confidence) for a print run. Maybe one more issue (yes, I keep saying that), and well give it a go. So keep your eyes peeled for a call for submissions for an actual paper copy. Plant a tree in preperation.

    This issue showcases many seasoned and debut writers. Take your time with this one. Find the space between the pauses within this issue (Wong, 42). Speak to the hermit crab and listen what he has to say (Reilly 63). Learn how different parents love their children. I wont share how Sabrina Bertchs photograph, Self, makes me feel, but I will say that Id hang it on my wall (See p. 52). I believe our youngest author in this issue is 16 years old. Crazy, right?

    As you follow through with your new years resolutions, we hope to see your thoughts and submissions in our inboxes. As always, we want your dreams, fears, hopes, wrath, and maybe even your drunk dialsbut in print. Lets keep it to print.

    As alwayshappy reading!


  • 4Poetry

    6 SolaceJae Lee

    7 Funeral FoodKristin Laurel

    8 OystersKristin Laurel

    9 BrickEmily Wong

    14 12 a.m., another front porch gathering

    John Roth

    15 WantJohn Roth

    16 Some Days, IKimberly McClintock

    17 In WinterBethany Fitzpatrick

    18 After Backpacking Over Mt. Whitney

    John Brantingham

    19 Desert CloudwallJohn Brantingham

    23 AwayEmily Frankenberg

    30 Famous Last WordsClyde Kessler

    31 DarknessSheng Kao

    The Review Staff

    EditorsLisa Andrews

    Meredith Davis

    Design EditorLisa Andrews

    Production EditorsMeredith DavisLisa Andrews

    Art AdvisorChris Butler

    First Readers

    Michael CooperGina DozoisMarcene GandolfoAshley HutsonXavier Vega

    Unsolicited submissions are always welcome.

    Manuscripts are now only accepted via Submittable. For submission guidelines, schedules, news, and archived issues, please visit our website at apeironreview.com

    Apeiron Review. All rights revert to author upon publication

    42 April, May, June 1997 A.N. Padrn

    44 AntlerEsther McPhee

    46 Porch Easel, FlightCharles Thielman

    45 Stone Carrier, Salish TerritoriesCarol Shillibeer

    47 BlueDan Leach

    53 HoneyHolly Jensen

    55 Mill RoadLisa Megraw

    56 These are the stages of tiger grief

    Kasey Thornton

    57 Suzanne Muzard, et alDanielle Pappo

    59 OphidiophobiaCal Louise Phoenix

    64 MultiverseTim Hatch

    65 In KievEstill Pollock

    66 Monkey Subdues the White- Boned DemonEstill Pollock


  • 5Fiction

    10 Men at Work #109Robert Laughlin

    12 UmarJay Merill

    20 Dads GoatMatthew David Perez

    24 Lassen CountyKathleen J. Woods

    32 DriveAaron Gansky

    35 The Shadow PuppetJim O. Neal

    48 Business as UsualEmily Claire Utley

    51 You May Also EnjoyKasey Thornton

    54 Rabbit and TracksJim OLeary

    63 OceanicJ.C. Reilly


    21 The Bear That Made My Father Love MeMichael Gentry

    60 Memory FormsNancy Dillon

    Photography11 Oyster Bay

    Carol Shillibeer

    28 Eye MouthTobias Oggenfuss

    29 Organic HornTobias Oggenfuss

    34 JailDave Petraglia

    43 City #1Ray Scanlon

    52 SelfSabrina Bertsch

    58 UntitledPepper Jones

  • 6 Listenthe white whisk of sky from whereyou fell like the heavy weight of silence, the flat line of your descent, (the softest downfall,) the sea of people, the gray shorelines that go from building to building,and in the midst of them, your halo none of this matters anymore.

    So come along, give this thing a meaning, a name, a story; Were nothing but words traveling from one lip to another in the end.

    Lookyour fathers coat hanging heavy like the air in his office, the smell ofbourbon, your mothers voice flowing as soft as laced cotton from the other room none of this ever mattered.

    Now youre thirty and youvebalanced yourself on the tips of your polished shoes at the mouth of the longeststaircase that leads to the throat of the darkest road, and it almost blinds you.

    You said, Let me take comfort in your green eyes and wood smoke hair. (The fireplace slept as you awokeand its glow smoothed out the planes of your face,skimmed down the hollows of your cheeks) and let the stars dotting your face drown me.

    After all, nothing could compare to her sunset eyes that make rivers run down the length of your dry throat, trickling down the surface of your bones, andpooling at your core.

    Jae Lee


  • 7After the funeral, the ladies in the church basement served open-faced deviled-ham sandwiches, and green pistachio pudding with mini-marshmallows. There were english muffins, topped with cheez-whiz, each with a single black olive in the middle that reminded me of an eyeball.

    Each table, draped in a white sheet, was set with fire-trucks, dinosaurs, race cars, and pictures from your two-year-old life; and there was the one of you, Benny, learning to walk. The one of you, with your small bare feet, touching the top of the earth, touching grass for the first time. The coffee was weak, the angel-food cake swelled up in my throat, and I couldnt swallow any of it: the empty words, empty calories, the tears, or that inexplicable hunger that was trying to consume me. And so I went out into the parking lot and sat in the car. I was crying and (of course) it was raining. I found an old bag of Cheetos. The Egyptians, I read, buried food with their dead. I wonder if you liked Cheetos. I begin eating them, pretending I am sharing them with you. We eat the whole bag. My hands become pasty and orange; and as I lick my messy fingers clean, I am loving yourefusing to feed the hungry grave.

    Kristin Laurel

    Funeral Food

  • 8Kristin Laurel

    OystersAway from the riptidesaway from the erratic waves of the Atlanticwe paddled our kayaks throughthe tall weeds of the estuary.

    It was the nicest day of vacation,the only day without rain.Back at home, a blizzard warning.

    Safe in the brackish water, we laughed as dolphinsleapt nearby and our guide said, Notice how clearthe water is where the oysters live. A single oyster can filter up to fifty gallons of water a day.

    Back at home my sisters son, Benny,went for a tractor ridehis father needed to plow all of the snow.

    For lunch we ordered a bucket of oysters.Some say oysters taste of the ocean, but I couldnt stop thinking,theyre filter feeders, theyre full of toxins, I couldnt swallow that colorless blood.

    The oyster shells on our table were tough.It was hard to pry them open,but even oysters die when you separatethem from the bottom shell andcut through the heart.

    My mother waited to call;she wanted us to enjoy our day.She was relieved not to tell me,but told my lover instead,

    Benny fell off the tractorcrushed skull, blood all over

    Earlier that daywe were buoyant,detached, half-way listeningas our guide said, Baby oysters needthe shells of their ancestors to live while all around the shoreline, piles of oystersclung to each other

    like those people we hold onto in the middle of the night,

    as we swallow the oceanand nearly drown.

  • 9BrickBetween the drinks and the cigarettesthe smell of vine-ripened tomatoes;the sound of the cicadas. Slung moonsslow ocean:Switching addictions is tricky.

    I am bones walking down a runway.I amthe shape of shadows.Of dying light.

    Sleep inside my lungs;breathe into someday.Someday meaning never,never meaning:That heart-stopping moment;the pin-prick through your left lobe.

    I brought a mood ring,a broken windshield,and literature smelling of death.

    I love the space between the pauses:a quiet clich,a blackened heart.

    That tire screech, metal crunch.That perfect, plastic, better dream;my cracked scapula whispers:Going home is easyits the arrivingthat sticks in the throat.

    Emily Wong

  • 10

    Timothy, a lay volunteer

    Every time its a different town, one where Im not known. Doctor Jeremy thunders to his climax, still moving to me though Ive heard it more times than I can remember. He calls on his listeners to come forward and be saved. I get out of my seat in the pews and walk up the aisle, tears rolling down my cheeks. Doctor Jeremy says Im a natural actor, but all I have to do to make myself cry is remember my life as it was, how I might have gone to my last day on Earth a stranger to His love. I dont think of my function in Doctor Jeremys church as an imposture; none of us think that. We walk up the aisle, and dozens, hundreds, of newcomers follow us into the light. They just have to see someone else go first; they have to see theres no shame in wanting to be saved.

    Robert LaughlinMen at Work #109

  • 11

    Carol Shillibeer

    Oyster Bay

  • 12

    Today, Friday, a day in a million. Millies on her way. She winked it plainly with her eyes.

    So I get up, make myself ready. Want to be bright and early for the girl. When I get to the hospital I dont see her, and I ask the woman at the desk. Woman says she dont know who Im meaning. Millie, I tell her. She says there aint no Millie here. I says must be. If Millie winks its as good as anybodys word. Says Ill wait. Woman says I cant. No room for waiting. I insist I will.

    Woman goes: Yes, I remember. Youve been in here, havent you. More than once, she tells me.

    Dont know. Could of been. Cant remember stuff.

    Yes, youre one of ours. Umar. I got a good memory, love.

    Ok, I say.Where you livin now? womans asking. I shake my head.Screams from somewhere and moaning

    sounds. Doors start banging, buzzer goes. More moaning and groaning then all turns quiet. Happens a lot at the hospital. Might of done a bit of screaming myself at one time. When I was a patient here.

    Avent seen you in a while, goes the woman, peering at me close.

    When did you see me last? I need her to tell me. It may be a clue to something I should know.

    Oh, Id put it at about a year. Eight months the very least. Her head goes nodding with the words. So whos this Millie youre on about meeting here? Eyes starin right at me, smile twitching in corners of her mouth.

    And just for that moment, when shes putting me on the spot like that, I clean forget.

    Better get some rest. You look done in, says woman.

    Cant, says I. I gotta wait....