2013 August : Sunday Salon

Stash Hempeck

Stash Hempeck received a BA in History from the University of Minnesota, Morris, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Prior work has been published in Red Weather, Ottertail Review, River Poets Journal, Manorborn, and lovechild. Three of his poems were included in the anthology County Lines, produced in celebration of Minnesota’s sesquicentennial. Born to an immigrant German/Russian father and a mother whose people came to the New World in 1630, he comes from a long line of peasants who earned their livelihood by tilling the soil, and by working with wood. He is the only offspring in his immediate family to graduate university. Currently he …


By Erika Dreifus

with thanks to Steven M. Lowenstein


My father’s parents were Germans,

and they were Jews,

and they were born long ago,

one just before and one just after

the outbreak of the war

that was to end all wars,

but didn’t.


They came to New York in ’37 and ’38,

met and married and had a son.

From them, I have inherited

copies of Der Struwwelpeter

and Buddenbrooks,

a fondness for Riesling,

and pünktlichkeit.


Pünktlichkeit is beyond punctuality.

It is showing up ahead of time for movies,

meetings, and medical appointments;

submitting papers and assignments

safely before their deadlines;

and returning books to the library

at least one day prior to their due dates.


Pünktlichkeit is a preemptive way of life,

and not everyone admires it.

Even Rabbi Breuer of Frankfurt,

later …

Erika Dreifus

Erika Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans: Stories, a collection inspired by the experiences and histories of her paternal grandparents. Erika read from Quiet Americans at the April 2011 Sunday Salon in New York City. Visit Erika online at www.erikadreifus.com.

A Car Ride of Second Chances

By Len Kuntz

It was my therapist’s idea. Ordinarily, he merely listened, taking a note or two during our sessions, but I could tell my exhibitions of misery were frustrating him, which is why he came up with the suggestion last week.

When I objected, he said, “Don’t forget, you’ve made mistakes in your marriage, too.”

That poison dart stung. I felt a moment of betrayal, but then realized the irony of my thinking—me, who’d been the unfaithful one.

I call our lawyers before leaving to tell them my wife and I are just trying to get out of town for a couple of days, drive to Portland–where people are less likely to …

Len Kuntz

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and an editor at the online literary magazine Metazen. His work appears widely in print and online. Len’s story collection, “I’m Not Supposed To Be Here And Neither Are You” debuts from Aqueous Books next year. You can find him and his writings at lenkuntz.blogspot.com

Come Loose and Fly Away

By Kathy Fish

It begins like this: The baby is red and wrinkled and squalling or bleating like a lamb. The baby has lots of hair or none at all. It has the face of a bulldog. Or Winston Churchill. The baby looks wise beyond his years. The baby’s fists are clenched, his toes, splayed. He’s terrified and vulnerable and angry.

The baby is weighed, his dimensions and poundage announced as if he were a prize bass. He is wrapped and held and cried over.

The baby grows. The baby gets fat. When the world pushes, the baby starts to push back. He smiles. He gurgles. He grabs hold of hair and …

Kathy Fish

Kathy Fish’s short fiction has appeared in Indiana Review, The Denver Quarterly, New South, Quick Fiction, Guernica, Slice and elsewhere. She was the guest editor of Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010. She is the author of three collections of short fiction: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (Rose Metal Press, 2008), Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011) and Together We Can Bury It, the 2nd printing of which is forthcoming from The Lit Pub.

He-Man and a Girl Named Larry

By Rae Bryant

I’m a crack shot, you know. That’s how he says it. We’re moving lettuces around on our plates at a sunny little outdoor café off Dupont Circle. It’s charming and sexy and creepy, the crack part. I don’t know exactly how to respond. Lovely? Next time I need a sniper, I’ll give you a call? We’ve waded through the I’m sorry, I love you. Just want to understand. Explain it to me. It would have been okay but for the rooms upstairs. We’re past fucking. Fucking can’t fix us now and so the rooms remind me we’re past the point of fixing with fucking so fucking now …

Stroking the Pigeon (after Amour)

By Patricia Spears Jones

What happens when you lose your taste
For living things-a lover’s mouth
The scent of her skin; his dark pubic hair
His hand’s distinct wave

How to savor what can no longer
Offer warmth, languor, curses

This we speak of
Again and again
A theme so lacking in originality
And yet

Is not that taste
It’s heat, spice or sourness

That shapes such loss.

Is it not
Of paramount deliberation

Is it not that need to stroke a living thing
That returns us to the pain of what

Has moved from breath?

The Toot

By Dean Kostos

Trees along the highway spiraled through the eyepiece of my kaleidoscope—our car speeding home to Cinnaminson, New Jersey. Mom and Dad had gone for marriage counseling in Philadelphia. My brother Phillip and I had tagged along. Dad shared something he’d read in a law journal, “New York cops use a technique when a criminal resists arrest. The Adam’s apple is so sensitive—if they push on it, the guy can’t move.”

“You mean they jam it into his throat?” my brother asked.

“Exactly—makes the assailant mute, except for guttural gasping.”

“Ted, please stop it. This isn’t the kind of conversation to have in front of the boys. Besides, it’s making me …

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