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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
Balance
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By Alison Baumy
Contemporary Cultural Differences...
_ By Ninni Siurua
Eclipsed Yesterdays
_ By Clyde Windjammer
Healthy Guy
_ By David J. LeMaster
Immortalis Letum
_ By Sophie Davis
Last Call For Salvation
_ By Angela P. Markham
My Fault
_ By Ro Thorton
Pacific Northwest
_ By Aaron Hellem
Q-Q Ca Choo
_ By Billy Pilgrim
The Best Laid Plans
_ By John A. Ward
The Ecstasy of Cooking
_ By Sam Nolting
The Girl With the Green Umbrella
_ By J.R. Earlebeck
The Gods of Houston
_ By Rebekah Frumkin

Poetry
Athena's Owl
_ By Amberly Mason
But I Have Never Known This
_ By Kaleen Love
Clouds On Your Floor
_ By Savannah Bobo
Crowded Lobby
_ By M. Blair Spiva
Ever After
_ By Bennie Johnson
Important Questions
_ By P.T. Bell
Migration
_ By Sarah Wassberg
Moon Goddess
_ By Kristina Diane Smith
Oldest Profession
_ By Ashley Polker
On Visiting Hay-on-Wye
_ By M. Blair Spiva
Sodom and Gomorrah
_ By Jessica Fannin
Wal-Mart
_ By P.T. Bell

Art & Photography
Jeremy Harker
_ Paintings
Douglas C. Knight
_ Photography
Jed Knox
_ Paintings and Drawings
May Ann Licudine
_ Paintings
Danny Malboeuf
_ Paintings
Alex Stanbury
_ Photography

The Best Laid Plans
By John A. Ward


My palette is restricted to white paint now. The prohibition began when I decided to surprise Anne, who was out of town saving the planet while I was alone in our little house on the prairie. I decided to paint our bedroom purple, Anne's favorite color. It took two coats, because the first taught me that painting over wallpaper is an excellent way to remove it. No sooner had I finished one side than the paper began to roll down in scrolls. I replaced my paint with water and continued around the room until the walls were bare. They had been painted before, but I primed them to smooth the surface. After rendering the walls purple, I bought a purple bedspread and purple pillowcases. Finally, I installed what the French call the piece de resistance and Anne calls the French mistake.

I bought mirror tiles and a glue gun with liquid nails and affixed twenty-four reflecting squares to the ceiling above our bed. I anticipated the erotic excitement it foreshadowed, being able to watch ourselves like dancers in a studio, rehearsing a carnal choreography. I had not foreseen the other less pleasurable sensation, the anxiety that a tile would disengage in the night, fall like a guillotine and decapitate us as we slept.

Upon her return, Anne was less enthusiastic than I expected, but she was resigned to try it. Together, we discovered that gravity is not kind. In a well-illuminated aerial view, few bodies are as firm and feral as they seem to the dark enhanced sense of touch.

We lived with it, but in reality it never became the prurient playground that it was in my fantasy. When it came time to sell the house, Anne rolled her eyes and wondered what the prospective buyers would think. The original fear that the mirrors would fall had long since been eclipsed by the horror that nothing less than a wrecking bar would dislodge them. We arranged to be out whenever the house was shown.

It was no problem. A widow woman snatched it up. She saw the house from the outside, was enamored by its cozy conservative look, and had been waiting for it to come onto the market. Its torrid little secret did not dissuade her. I sometimes wonder if she kept it as a conversation piece, and what those conversations may have been.

We left the snow-blown north on Easter and journeyed south to sunshine and palm trees. Freed of the gnawing necessity of surviving nine months of winter, we settled into an airy, slightly disheveled house with cathedral ceilings that fit our budget. Over the years, we dressed it up, always in white. Over the bed, Anne hung a framed print of Georgia O’Keefe’s purple petunias.

 


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JOHN A. WARD was born on Staten Island, attended Wagner College in the early 60's, sold his first poem to Leatherneck magazine for $10, and became a biomedical scientist. He is now in San Antonio running, writing, and living with his dance partner.