Rappahannock Review | Issue 3.1: Christina Stoddard
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Saint Agnes House by Justin Carmickle
“‘How much work can sitting with an old man possibly be?’ Ian’s mother…”

A Lonely, Cold Place by Barbara Harroun
“I rise in the dark brutality of mid-February, feel for my slippers, grope for my warm, parka-like robe and cinch it at my waist…”

Built to Sink Biannually by Jaap Kemp
“Our ideals were at once immortal and despondent, seeking the sense of perpetuity that only death can afford…”

Tusk by David Nelson
“I knew there was nothing to say. You kept glancing down the line, then looking over at me to see if I’d caught you…”

The Good Sentinel by Alex Pruteanu
“Many years later, as he stepped up to the gallows…”

Ghostland Blues by Billy Wallace
“I can tell that Bennie’s no townie. He wants to smoke, but doesn’t want to leave his drink…”

The Ninety Day Wonder by Judy Bolton-Fasman
“Decades after he was in the Navy, when I was no more than six or seven years-old, my father tracked the weather as if he were still on the bridge of his supply ship…”

HG Pieces by Michael Levan
“Over the next three days, he realizes his life is ruled / by numbers…”

Plumb from a String: An Essay in Nine Sutures by Connor O’Neill
“It was something like the sound of two clocks ticking just out of sync, my brother’s bandages being cut….”

Dead Animal Farm by L.B. Thomas
“The goat screamed all night. It sounded like a human child yelling at the top of its lungs…”

How Not to Spell Gymnasium by Roy Bentley
“As for the rest, they spat consonants and vowels
in correct order while I was…”

Tucson in the Future by Kayla Rae Candrilli
“In the time it takes to fly across
the desert again…”

Girl in the Cave by Tasha Cotter
“For years, the messages go unanswered…”

Life in Outer Space by Tasha Cotter
“The people vowed never to leave…”

After Eden: Hopper’s Pennsylvania Coal Town by Karl Plank
“After Eden he made his way to Pennsylvania
tracing the coal seam with bruised feet…”

Still Life with Pronoun and Scalpel by Christina Stoddard
“With this blade, I must trim you…”

Still Life with Pronoun and Scalpel

 

With this blade, I must trim you

from the meat of my stories. Now

I will stand next to a genderless friend

 

watching Prince strip Little Red Corvette

down to one unplugged guitar. I water down

the weekend we spent on Topsail Island

 

until it’s me, a mixtape, and an indefinite

pronoun riding shotgun. Every plural

becomes singular—no one remembers

 

the motel room in Columbus

whose reek of secondhand smoke

and lavender potpourri

 

would not wash from my hair. It is like

tearing the ligaments that bind my arm

to its socket. Look how biography

 

dangles useless at my side. I’ve got to dodge

the discrepancies, stop talking so much,

lean away from where your collarbone

 

should be. I’m re-recording those years

and saving the sound bites. Let me believe

it can be clean. I keep having that nightmare

 

where all my teeth fall out when I tap them,

which is supposed to mean

I’ve allowed things to slip from my mouth

 

that I should have held in. My neighbor says

that a dream of losing teeth

means you are telling lies and I grin back

 

with empty gums. These revisions

are labored, like your breathing

when we climbed Chimney Rock,

 

which of course is a fiction

because I was there alone,

no lover on the radar at all.

 

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