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The Phoenix

TRACK The Phoenix—Tara Ward with Special Weapons Song and vocals: Tara Ward Song arrangement, synths, and sounds: Matthew D. Chism (aka Special Weapons) Mixed by Lacey Brown at Nervous Breakdance Studios, Seattle WA Artwork: Cecelia Romero Likes LYRICS See her fly above the seas Inexperienced not she Any constraints—she’ll break free And find a truer…

A stroller story

It was Saturday morning, and tiny pinpricks of early light had just begun to filter into my darkened bedroom. I awakened to the familiar sound of little feet padding across the hallway accompanied by an unfamiliar sound I couldn’t quite identify. The door creaked open, and I peeked sleepily from beneath the covers. Standing before…

Lytle Beach

  Afternoon sun, cutting sharp shadows on clamshell, white pebble, gray beach glass, green (such familiar things), warms each March beachgoer, including the heartless seagulls dropping helpless mussels from the sky to open them. Down across the sand an unlanguaged man – vocal tic, facial twitch – stands in the mudflats going “hum hum hum”…

Thirty-four years new

I’m celebrating my thirty-fourth birthday. As a parent, I love watching my kids enjoy their birthdays. They’re thrilled by all the “new” that is coming their way: Five means getting ready for Kindergarten; thirteen means you fit in that teenager category, no longer a kid; and sixteen means new independence and the possibility of driving.…

The call of the wild

Pit toilets are a dismal attempt to domesticate the mountains. The stench hit my nostrils as I rounded the corner and came in view of the toilet, a simple wooden throne with a single step up to it and a hole in the middle. Flies hovered over the opening, which looked half rotten, drenched in…

New

Bare branches clutch the dying moon, coyotes mourn and call Poor attempts to hold this moth drawn to the beloved Flame Though she shall be reduced to ash then thrust forth born again Jamie Maciejewski belongs to Wordways, a group of women on the Olympic Peninsula who write and share pilgrimages of faith and life.…

Springtime in the Northwest

I grew up in the northern desert where long, harsh winters were followed by dry, hot summers. My siblings and I spent whole days outside building, swimming, exploring in the summer. Our winters were spent huddled around the pellet stove, making snow forts and sledding down the ditch embankment. Later my husband and I lived…

Keep looking up

I close my eyes, fighting against the tears. Sam is below me, his hands tight around the rope, his voice soothing and patient. “You’ve got this, come on.” I take a deep breath and try again, finding a solid place for my right foot. My fingers cram themselves into a small crack system, and I…

Love in a new language

It started with a research project for the novel I’m working on, but it’s quickly turning into an obsession: the culture of Persia. I became especially interested in the cuisine because my fictional main character has a culinary talent. Problem: I’d never actually tasted Persian food, and the more I read about it, the more…

New mercies

I am typing this on a borrowed laptop. The ceiling paint above me is cracked and peeling, tainted with yellow stains. The bedroom door won’t shut into a door frame deformed from years of settling. I can see out the window because several of the blinds are cracked or missing, but the view is incredible.…

If I only had the nerve

The swarthy tones mingled long and loud over the packed multipurpose room that late Saturday afternoon for the boy who stood playing the Beast. It had taken him hours to assemble himself that day. Girls swooned in silent corners watching as the one lucky makeup girl, who had volunteered months before so as to simply…

If it ain’t broke

I zoomed around the corner, footloose, and fancy free (meaning I only had one of my three kids hanging on me) at Costco. I even started humming a little happy tune when I ran smack into the gridlock of carts. The lines sprawled out like jagged tentacles of a six-headed beast. It was 11am on…