Speckled Trout Review’s Fall 2021 (3.2) publication is a print issue on the theme of childhood memories. The poems, while striking universal themes, evoke emotions as varied as childhood memories tend to be, going beyond compilations of images, cutting to deeper meanings that are very much alive in the present. To order a copy of Fall 2021 (3.2), readers can contact STR at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put order in the subject line. Single issue: $10.00.
Kevin J. McDaniel, Founder of Speckled Trout Review
Nancy Dillingham, Associate Editor
Featured poets: Milton Bates, Roger Camp, Ed Davis, Jo Angela Edwins, Charity Everitt, Linda Freeman, Robert Gibb, Nels Hanson, Peggy Heitmann, Karen Kilcup, Mary Kurtz, Jayne Marek, Mary Paulson, Sherry Poff, Jessica Purdy, Carol Sadtler, Carla Sarett
“Stand downtown and holler ‘Kennedy’s dead.’ You’ll sell a million and get rich, kid.” I couldn’t do it—way too shy. But I loved the circulation man’s buzz cut, the smirking cigarette he held in his Elvis-curled lip. When Mom sprang Dad from jail, he passed forever from our grasp. At school, Miss L. paused thoughtfully beside my desk as if to speak, changed her mind and slapped me instead. The burn at the back of my tongue lingered long past Dad’s absence. The alley beneath our window— a jagged crack of black after dark— attracted drunks, lovers and toughs. Mom said I’d find her there some- day when she’d had enough and jumped. Like Xmas, birthdays and Dad’s return, the day of her suicide stayed safely away. I rode my route and hurled the names: Johnson, Bobby and Richard Speck; Castro, Khrushchev and Malcolm X, devoured the news with my Frosted Flakes: Dick Tracy meets Moon Maid, more than a president passes away. For his birthday, I bought my circulation man a jar of Butch’s hairwax, then chickened out, fearing he’d sneer, “Ain’t you the kid too shy to sell papers the day Kennedy was killed?” But buying the goop was good enough. It’d be the same as the secret I shared with my teacher, Miss L. Best not to say who we love or hate; not all the news is fit to print or say. Ed Davis’s stories, essays, and poems have appeared in Leaping Clear, Hawaii Pacific Review, and Bacopa Literary Review. He lives with his wife in Yellow Springs, Ohio. ________________________________________________________________________________ Kentucky Bourbon hid in the bathroom closet, high above the frayed towels and faded washrags, tucked behind things only women would use— cold cream, maxi-pads— so my father wouldn’t find it, wouldn’t drain its sweet alcoholic bite and make the quiet of our tiny house disappear like flowers in wildfire. My mother’s one condescension to the liquored life, the smoky warmth she used to soak her Christmas cakes baked with candied cherries, sugared raisins, pecans she gathered herself alone along the hills of our country yard, grass so green it tilted toward the blue of her childhood Kentucky, four hundred miles away. Unless it was Christmas, she worked away from the house, in town or outside in our yard. She watched the day darken like the shell of a cake soaking in the whiskey, like the moods of all the men she knew who grew sad and afraid of the things that could happen when the sun fell like stone from a bloodied winter sky. A South Carolina native, Jo Angela Edwins serves as poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of the state. She has received awards from Winning Writers, Poetry Super Highway, and SC Academy of Authors. ______________________________________________________________________________ A Burial on Emery Ridge When the city was a frail cluster huddled in the valley beyond the near hills and no road ran between, you climbed with me to this ridge, this long finger of the mountain stretched like a benediction into the dusk. “A good place to watch the change of stars,” you said. At the base of the last cliff, among boulders thrown down like discarded prayers, we searched for twigs and found, in a crevice deep like an old wound, a crude pot the color of earth, holding charred bones, red flint bird-point, and four shell beads for the passage. In a circle of borrowed stones we made our fire, talked of antiquity and the names of stars. Tonight the city swamps the valley end to end and licks at the root of the mountain. My child and I bring you to the top of this ridge, to the circle of stones below the cliff. The box, gray as dead fire, goes easily into the wall; the pot has become the color of rock. By our thin fire we watch the valley dissolve into sky. I name her the names of ridge and canyon, tell her the stories of stars. Charity Everitt’s poems have appeared in Lyrical Iowa, Comstock Review, River Heron Review, Cimarron Review, and Her Words. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. _______________________________________________________________________________ Beachheads 1. Tide Charts, Dunedin, Florida, 1958 Paraplegic since Normandy, My uncle Furman, released from His wheelchair at the water’s edge, Scuttles backward into the surf, Dead legs furrowing the sand. Clears the combers shawling About his shoulders, and is out there Floating in the sun-struck Gulf. “You’d have a hard time holding Him under”—my father’s take On that wave-berthed figure whose Sea change impresses us both, Though for me he’s less maimed Survivor, buoyed by his swim, And more sub-mariner. I watch him Lounging upon the waters From the waist up, his broad chest Like a channel marker riding The swells. And now, decades after His suicide, watch him treading Above the under-currents where The tables of the tide keep turning. 2. Mass Evacuation, Nags Head, 1960 All week I prowled those wind- Ridged dunes, wearing the khaki Flight helmet my cousin claimed Came from a fighter pilot who Ditched his Spitfire in the drink. Part of my beachcombing get-up, That vacation we kept an eye On the weather that would send Us packing, striking the set Of our yearly seaside drama Featuring my father and the bottle, My stepmother’s bottled-up, Close-quarters rage. What we left Looked remnant already— Buildings boarded shut, beaches Tide-lined with debris. Hurricane Donna hurrying us home Where our storms ran their usual Courses among our usual run Of days. It would be years before I could even hope to assess The actual extent of the damage. Robert Gibb is the author of Sightlines (Poetry Press, 2021), his thirteenth full-length poetry collection, and winner of the 2019 Prize Americana for Poetry. _______________________________________________________________________________