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The Best of A cappella Zoo's Inaugural Demi-Decade

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  • I S S U E 10 S P R I N G 2 0 1 3

    Bestiary: the best of the inaugural demi-decade

    Guest Editor

    GINA OCHSNER

    FOUNDING EDITOR

    Colin Meldrum

    FICTION EDITOR

    Amanda Lyn DiSanto POETRY EDITOR

    Lisa McCool-Grime

    COVER & SECTION ILLUSTRATOR

    Anna Bron

    A cappella Zoo (ISSN: 1945-7480): a magazine of magic realism and slipstream. A cappella Zoo was founded in 2008 as an independent, labor-of-love publication.

    Contributions to this special issue were selected by award-winning author Gina

    Ochsner (www.ginaochsner.com). All illustrations were done by artist Anna Bron

    except where otherwise credited to contributors Cheryl Gross and Gavin Faherty.

    Support A cappella Zoo and its contributors by sharing your favorite stories and

    poems with friends and colleagues. Enjoy.

    Copyright 2013 All rights retained by authors/artists of respective works.

    www.acappellazoo.com

  • Contents

    5

    a conversation with GINA OCHSNER

    F I C T I O N P O E T R Y

    Aquarium

    11

    The Creature from the Lake

    Ginny

    16

    HAYES MOORE

    ELIZABETH OBRIEN

    17 The Life Story of a Chilean Sea Blob Versions 27 THEODORE CARTER ALI LANZETTA

    30 The Sand Ship selections from In the Circus of You

    NICELLE DAVIS &

    CHERYL GROSS

    33 CLAIRE MASSEY

    40 The Collector of Van de Voys

    EDMOND CALDWELL

    46 Brunhildes Escape

    DANYA GOODMAN

    Phylum

    49

    Proximity

    Dialysis

    63

    JOSH DENSLOW

    PATRICK SUGRUE

    64 Postcards from Home three Conrad poems 72

    JOHN JASPER OWENS KRISTINE ONG MUSLIM

    75 The Sacrosancts

    RACHEL ADAMS

    The Story of Jimmy

    Draws-So-Small

    84 81 Larva

    RANDOLPH SCHMIDT ROBIN PATRIC CLAIR

  • F I C T I O N P O E T R Y

    86

    When the Weather Changes You

    AMBER SPARKS

    93 War Crumbs Reintroduction 97

    JOE KAPITAN

    JEFF PEARSON

    Shelter

    101

    part one of Atomic Summer

    Flowers, Shears

    108

    ANTON BAER

    MICHAEL SCHMELTZER

    109 Requiem for a Glass Heart from The Centipede Love Songs 113

    ROXANE GAY

    DANIEL PORDER

    115 Oldjohns House This is the House That 123 MICAH DEAN HICKS

    SHELLIE ZACHARIA

    124 Three Times Red an excerpt from the human-suit series

    JESSICA YOUNG

    127 A. A. BALASKOVITS

    130 Stain

    MARIA DEIRA

    Topiary

    133

    Take Up the Bonnet Rouge

    an excerpt from

    Liliths Extra Rib ALANA I. CAPRIA

    139 CHANTEL TATTOLI

    141 A Theory of Music WALTER BARGEN

    144 The Watchmaker Beauty School 149 ERIC SCHALLER MARY LOU BUSCHI

    150 The Legs Come Off Easily The Adventures of Starfish Girl 157 EMILY J. LAWRENCE LINDSAY MILLER

    160 The Wooden Grandpa Man without a Wishbone 162 KURT NEWTON

    PRARTHO SERENO

    Crematorium

    165

    When the World Ends

    Leaving La Dulce Vida

    177 NICOLE MIYASHIRO

    MARTIN OTT & JOHN F. BUCKLEY

    179 Trouble in Mind Eclipse 192 JULIA A. ROSENTHAL FENG SUN CHEN

  • F I C T I O N P O E T R Y

    193

    The Rocket in the Sky

    Teaching a Post Lunar World

    201 ANDREW MITCHELL

    CAITLIN THOMSON

    202 Dearest Dirty Dig 218 TINA HYLAND & GAVIN FAHERTY MARGARET BASHAAR

    219 Poppers Choice The Gun Game 221 ROBERT EDWARD SULLIVAN

    BENJAMIN CLARK &

    COLIN WINNETTE

    222 Transaction

    REDFERN BARRETT

    Sacrarium

    243

    What Follows Us

    In the Emily Dickinson Museum

    247 ADAM MCOMBER

    MARGARET WALTHER

    248

    The Paranormal Guide

    to Wedding Etiquette

    Kentucky-Fried Christ

    261 PEDRO PONCE C. E. CHAFFIN

    262 The End of the Objects Tale of the Avian Saint 273 JACK KAULFUS WILLIAM KEENER

    274 Finding Your Way to the Coast Ballad of Conjure 284 JULIE DAY

    FELICIA ZAMORA

    285 La Chanson de lObservation Beelzebubstomp 296 BERNARD M. COX

    M. P. POWERS

    Aviary

    299

    Showtime

    Circling of Cranes

    306

    NANCY GOLD

    CHARLENE LOGAN BURNETT

    307 Birds Every Child Should Know Sigilism 315

    KATE RIEDEL

    JOHN MYERS

    316 Calling Rain The History of Sexuality 330

    LORA RIVERA

    JOSEPH HARRINGTON

    332 Old Myths Magic Realists in Love 335

    COLLIN BLAIR GRABAREK

    LINDA ANN STRANG

    Notes on Contributors

    336

  • 5

    a conversation with

    GINA OCHSNER

    Gina lives in Oregon and divides her time between writing and teaching at Corban

    University and with the Seattle Pacific Low-Residency MFA program. She has been

    awarded a John L. Simon Guggenheim grant and a grant from the National

    Endowment of Arts. She speaks at universities, retreats, conferences, schools, and

    book clubs on creativity, magic realism, flash fiction, prose poetry, the intersection

    of art and faith, and other topics related to writing. Her stories have appeared in

    The New Yorker, Tin House, Glimmer Train, and The Kenyon Review. She is the

    author of the short story collection The Necessary Grace to Fall, which received the

    Flannery OConnor Award for Short Fiction, and the story collection People I Wanted to Be. Both books received the Oregon Book Award. Her first novel, The

    Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight, was published by Portobello Press and

    Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt.

    COLIN: Based on your selections for this collection, how would you

    describe A cappella Zoos landscape?

    GINA: Im struck by the frolicsome, mischievous nature of so many of these pieces. Though the subject matter of much of the work is deepdark eventhe treatment rarely is and I think that this suggests a profound love of language among these writers.

    COLIN: One of my favorite of your stories, How One Carries Another, is a contemplative, unique sort of ghost story, and its certainly not the only one youve written. Weve seen zombie and vampire fads dominate popular media lately, but would you agree that ghosts have kept a more

    consistent seat at the story sharing table? Why dont we tire of ghost

    stories?

    GINA: I would agree that ghosts do in fact inhabit a more consistent seat.

    Ghosts will outlast any bloodthirsty vampire or brain-deprived zombie

    because the idea of ghosts being present among us speaks to a collective

    desire between both living and dead to remain connected. I dont know of any culture that doesnt have some kind of a position as to the presence and meaning of ghosts (either as the subject of rumor and tales or as

    accepted witness of another time/day). I dont think Ill ever tire of ghost stories because I find them fascinating forays into the world of the

    speculative. What happens when a person dies? Where does the soul go?

  • 6

    What happens if someone were to become stuck for a time between two

    worlds? What reason would a person have for hanging around and making

    noise? Is it just noise or is there some larger message meant to be pieced

    together? I suspect magic realists Gabriel Garca Mrquez and Isabel

    Allende found ghosts to be useful manifestations of history, of adding

    complexity and texture to the narrative and to other characters. And what

    better way to show the contradictions inherent in living than by rousting a

    ghost who can hold up the mirror, so to speak.

    AMANDA: In a 2005 interview with Writers Digest, you mentioned a special love for the short story form. Since then youve published your first novel. Now that youve experienced writing in both short and long

    forms, has your view of short stories changed? What do you think the

    short story form offers readers?

    GINA: I dont think Ill ever abandon the short story form. In fact, when Im feeling quite stuck on a longer project (and this happens more often than I

    like to admit) I go to the creative sandbox, a soup of words and images, that

    place of wonder and astonishment and surprise. I go to play, to have some

    low down messy fun. And inevitably Ill emerge elbow deep in story. Short stories are like a burst of fireworksenergy only momentarily contained. I cant think of a more fluid, malleable form.

    LISA: Unlike many literary journals, A cappella Zoo is fiction heavy.

    While we hope to appeal to a broad range of readers, our intended

    primary audience is fiction readers, an idea we keep in mind even when

    considering poetry for publication. Whats in store in this anthologys poetry for readers who dont normally seek out poetry?

    GINA: I think that the mark of a successful piece, whether fiction, drama,

    essay or poem rests in the strength of the imagery and language. The poems

    in A cappella Zoo are particularly image rich, image driven. Because of this,

    I find the poetry evocative and yet, accessible. These pieces are built of

    blood, bone, skin, and dreams you can sink a fork and knife into.

    COLIN: You were a keynote speaker at Western Seminarys 2011 Faith and Culture Writers Conference and you teach for a private Christian

    university. Does being a person of faith play a role in your sense ofor approach tomagic realism?

    GINA: Being a person of faith