ISSUES | winter 2011

34.4 Cover

34.4 (Winter 2011): "Weird"

Featuring work by Mia Alvar, Beth Cranwell Aplin, Monica Ferrell, Christa Fraser, Thomas Heise,  Richie Hofmann, Luke Mogelson, Kent Nelson, and Thomas Swick… as well as a look at the life and work of Sarah Bernhardt and a conversation with China Miéville.

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CONTENT FROM THIS ISSUE

34.4 Cover

Fiction

Jan 06 2012

Wildflowers of the Western Chaparral

Mr. Lohnert acts as though he doesn’t notice that home or its occupants whenever he passes by now, as though there is nothing there but a giant hole at the end of a short driveway to nowhere, even though they’ve been neighbors nearly forever. If any of them is outside their old moss-sided white double-wide, especially her, he will cross the terracotta-colored road and then the ditch, walking right through if the water is running high, getting wet to his knees. Sometimes when he’s crossing, he feels the way an escaped prisoner from years ago must have, sensing the bloodhounds close behind, knowing he is barely a creek and a hillside scramble away from being apprehended.

34.4 Cover

Fiction

Jan 06 2012

The Caretaker

They were dogging bear again. It was the fourth night that autumn he’d been woken by the bawling hounds. The din they made put them someplace on the two-track, not far above the breaks that marked the western edge of Hannah Tucker’s property. A halfhearted drizzle plunked along the Airstream. Hoping against hope that the poachers, plotts and blueticks would turn away from Hannah’s, Tom Phillip climbed from bed and staggered the three short steps past his toilet, couch and kitchen. It was cold inside the trailer. As Tom knelt to light the stove, there came the unmistakeable clamor of the pack lining out on a scent, baying their quarry down the saddle from the upland.

34.4 Cover

Fiction

Jan 06 2012

Race

Hakim woke early the morning of the half-marathon—six A.M.—the last Saturday in August, though the race didn’t start until seven-thirty. Sarah, his renter, had to be at the Yeast-I-Can-Do at five, so she made coffee before she left, though never strong enough, and he added a spoonful of instant to the carafe. Sarah had an upstairs room—renting, for Hakim was an experiment whose verdict was still out. The house was too big for one person, and Hakim liked having the extra money for utilities, which in a small town were expensive. He didn’t mind Sarah’s peculiarities. She kept an odd schedule, sometimes in bed at seven, sometimes going out with friends and staying out all night. She was tall and had wild red hair and had come from Vermont to ice climb, though it was summer when people got work and fall when rooms and apartments opened up. She had broken up with her boyfriend, with whom she’d been camping, and maybe because she was twenty-six, half as old as he was, he found himself focusing on her comings and goings more than he wished to.

34.4 Cover

Nonfiction

Jan 06 2012

Strange Comfort

I had been going to Mia for about a year, and all of this was routine: the slight ping of the needle as it pierced my skin and the tap-tap of Mia’s finger as she delicately and authoritatively plunged the sharp tip to a painless spot below the surface. It always felt as though my body were a wall and she the handyman, expertly punching the Lilliputian nails into place. With the needles set and the blanket warming me, I rested on my back with my eyes closed and my arms by my sides. Several minutes must have passed. And then something really weird happened.