“Pot It’s Not” by Linda Romanowski

One of my Grandfather’s greatest pleasures and talents was his green thumb, which, because he was so tanned, I’d jokingly refer to as his “Italian Brown Thumb.” In the mid-seventies, when he came to live with us in Roxborough, my father and uncles made a small garden patch for him at the side of the house, and every inch yielded vegetables, plants, and flowers – there wasn’t a seed which wouldn’t grow for him. Grandpop’s favorites included the Italian herbs, oregano, parsley, basil, and rosemary. His summer harvest yielded far more than we and our neighbors needed, so he decided to dry the herbs and bottle them for use during winter months. He’d methodically cut the herbs, wash them gently, and then string each leaf with needle and thread in a long strand, hanging them on the clothesline, rigged up from our garage door to the end of our driveway. The herbs which dried best were oregano and basil.

Continue reading “Pot It’s Not” by Linda Romanowski

Editor’s Post: “Coney Island Cats”

In front of freezing beach air, NATHAN’S glows neon, pink, and green while other lights from the central-subway depot glimmer phosphorescent. In this cold, what could be better than a steaming cup of tea? I remember that doughnut place outside the station like it’s a revelation, but you say that tea would be a distraction, and right now a driving lesson is desired. After all, that’s why we’re here, so we drive near the boardwalk, circling a few times, learning to turn, how to brake, and accelerate.

Continue reading Editor’s Post: “Coney Island Cats”

Editor’s Post: “Finding Magic in the City”

Even on an uneventful trip to New York City, I’ve always had one moment, at least one, that was magical. Take my last trip to New York. After a relentless winter with little sunlight, I thought that a trip to the city, on a relatively sunny day, would be a welcome change. Hopeful for a fun-filled trip, I woke up at six a.m. and prepared myself for an eight o’clock bus ride. As I drove to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, the sun was already bright, heating the city and melting snow. After boarding the bus, I fell asleep immediately, so the ride to New York seemed to happen in a matter of minutes. I woke up as the bus entered Manhattan.

Continue reading Editor’s Post: “Finding Magic in the City”

“Cheers” by Steven Rosenfeld

Stan Feldstein was having lunch alone at his desk on a bitterly cold and windy Tuesday in early January, absently perusing the New York Law Journal. It wasn’t the press of work that kept him there over the lunch hour; in all honesty, he wasn’t very busy just then. No, he was eating at his desk, as usual, because there really was no one in or near his Murray Street law office that he wanted to spend an hour gabbing with over lunch. Anyone he could think of would quickly get around to asking about his love life and would suggest another “perfect woman” to fix him up with, leading to another of those excruciating dinner dates that couldn’t be over fast enough. If he’d made any New Year’s resolution, it was to be done with that dreary game.

Continue reading “Cheers” by Steven Rosenfeld

“Underground Mission” by Kathy Buckert

The streetlights barely lit the way to our destination. Flashlights, although necessary, didn’t keep the shadows from invading our space as we pushed our way through the broken fence. Bramble scraped against skin as we slid down the hill to the pavement below. The stifling air made it hard to breathe, pushing my fight or flight response full throttle. Having a battalion of armed men would not have settled my nerves, and I had only two. We marched in armed, not with guns but with folding camp chairs and provisions of coffee, sandwiches, and pastries donated by Starbucks.

Continue reading “Underground Mission” by Kathy Buckert

“Soul Sistas” by Chelsea Covington Maass

Growing up in various small towns in Kansas, I’d lived a life wrapped in the gauzy imagination that insists the “real” America is comprised of white Christians. Our neighbors were Catholics or Methodists, Lutherans or Baptists. I had exactly one Jewish playmate throughout my childhood. But then I left for college.

Continue reading “Soul Sistas” by Chelsea Covington Maass

“Memoir Noir: Incident on 46th Street” by Lanny Larcinese

Home, a place of refuge against life’s vicissitudes. When we die, we tell long-departed loved ones, “I’m coming home.” Safety. Security. If we don’t have a house, we still create a home – if only a hotplate and lumpy mattress in a fleabag hotel, or an empty refrigerator box in hoboville – not much for many, but for some, home.

Continue reading “Memoir Noir: Incident on 46th Street” by Lanny Larcinese

“Prose in the City” by Pietra Dunmore

My MFA nonfiction workshop was held in a small room, surrounded by bookcases with hardcovers and their yellowing pages. We sat around an oval, oak table listening to an older man with a sparse beard and black turtleneck. Among those plush chairs sat archetypes of stereotypical writers with their bushy beards, thick glasses, and self-proclaimed alcoholism. One of those writers was the man I fell in love with.

Continue reading “Prose in the City” by Pietra Dunmore

“Philly Phlebotomy” by Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey

In 1989, the old building of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children is a faceless, beige, concrete slab, blended in among industrial-flat structures in a North Philly ghetto. Though a wide city street divides the building from its chain-link, fenced-in parking lot, the road seems narrow, probably because of my age; at thirteen, all I know is that I’m traveling down this street to have blood work drawn and that there’s no turning back.

Continue reading “Philly Phlebotomy” by Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey

“Euphoria” by Pietra Dunmore

One afternoon I was passing the time at the Macy’s on thirteenth and Market. I walked in through the large columns and leisurely strolled the white marble floors, passing by the large glass display cases and cosmetics counters when I smelled it. The scent made my cheeks flush with warm blood. I detected a spicy mixture of ginger pepper, black basil, and amber that I knew intimately. My inner thighs tingled. Immediately, I turned around looking for him – my giant, my Bear – but he wasn’t there. I picked up the square glass bottle, holding it to my nose and closing my eyes.

Continue reading “Euphoria” by Pietra Dunmore