“The Things That Birds Evolved From” by Kyra Wiens

“What’s the most important moment of your life?” I say and my son rolls his eyes. “Gastrulation!

His mom is pregnant and so we’ve been talking a lot about where babies come from. Revision. He is a nine-year-old boy, so we’ve been talking about everything.

What school do astronauts go to? How many days does it take for Komodo Dragon venom to kill you? When did Tyrannosaurus Rex live?

There are some things I know a lot about, gastrulation being one.

Gastrulation is the moment where the little sphere of cells that will one day be you softly puckers inward on one side. Blip! And for the rest of your life, this will be your bottom. Such a subtle thing. And yet. Without this first orientation of the body, an unfolding of a compass to decipher, Ah yes, true north is this way, everything else in your life, while miraculous, would never be possible.

Then there are things I know very little about. But, there is a library.

As a step-parent, my greatest joy is partnering with my kids as they learn. This is why I like the term “bonus mom.” I’m not trying to step in on anyone, I’m just a bonus for love and alternate perspectives.

But, along with the joys, there are also unique frustrations. The library book that created the most furor (surpassing, even, the objections to Harry Potter) was the illustrated children’s book entitled Evolution.Continue reading →

“A Tacoma Fairy Tale” by Kenly George Durand

Cora’s father was a dragon, her mother an angel.

The two laid 100 eggs, but because he was from the sea and she from land, they divided them 50 each, and separated.

To not be seen nor heard, knowing he could breathe fire when upset, the dragon traveled some distance away from land and his shallow water clutch to grieve, but the wee-est of the eggs rolled close behind, so when he struck the water with his great tail in sad frustration, the wee egg tumbled down…Continue reading →

“To Climb the Tree Inside of Me” by Daniel Alcyone

I desire to know this Kingdom intimately, to taste the salt, till the soil, smell the shit. Five senses simply aren’t enough. O Lord of the Earth grant me discrimination that I may rightly choose the path leading into The Meadow of Delights. I cast my circle and cross the threshold to discover the sweetest of fruits ripe for the picking. They drop to the ground and rot before my eyes; citrine, olive, russet, black. Seconds turn to seasons as new sprouts emerge from the rich compost and grow into bountiful blossoming trees, the cycle continues. I gaze across the meadow and there she sits triumphantly, the young queen on her throne wearing a crown made of earth and water and air and fire…

So the Number of the Sphere shall be Ten.Continue reading →

“Stone Horse” by Benjamin Olson

I believe my course true, sail set to
home port. Leagues and years my
voyage stretches to close. Weary in
heart, in soul, I captain my destiny.

Late hour burns seven bells toll, head,
hands, leaden as sounding bronze reads
six fathoms, sand and broken shell.
I feel a sidling hiss of off-pattern swell
slip us sideways, like some misplaced oath.
A keels’ tripping stammer alarms every fiber,
then is gone.
Soft return of steady rolling carries the
closing quarter of this late watch.
Dozing fitfully, almost a rest. Then, slip, strike.
Queer roll presses clammy fingers on hair-raised forearm,
its touch a whetted whisper of hazard unseen.
Straining into darken gloom my eyes, coals of
clinker, tell me no news.
Ringing with strain, my ears pretend to carry
some call. A faint hissing of breakers not far off
beam, confuses with creak of rig, of spar.
Thick, my jolted head tilts chin up.
Did I hear some soprano wail?
Ululation of distress or import?
Then as my ear betrays fatigue my eyes
join in hallucination.Continue reading →

“Reviving Tacoma’s Cultural Heartbeat” by Blaine Johnson

Tacoma wouldn’t be a fully formed city without the Theater District. It would have commerce, houses and apartments, hotels and offices, schools and hospitals, businesses large and small, governmental and social services, a mix of entertainment and recreational facilities, all the things that make for a generally workable municipal organism. It would be, in essence, a functioning body – but, lacking a heart.Continue reading →

“Seeing Neko Case at the Pantages Theater The Day After Donald J. Trump Was Elected President of the United States” by Daniel Person

We were late in buying tickets, which put us in the nosebleeds. It was alright. We’d seen Neko before.

In Seattle, at the Paramount. 20 rows back if it was 10. Media seats, free through the Seattle newspaper I wrote for. Perk of the job. Event staff wants the newspaper writer to have a good time, so when he writes about his time, what he writes is good. It’s axiomatic. I had a coworker in the newsroom complain about this once. Free tickets for primo seats, he said, blinds us to all the crap people go through to experience live entertainment: Nonsensical service fees, post-Napster price inflation, secondary markets, bot buyers, seats where all you can hear is bass, seats where all you can hear are echoes. I paid him no mind. You know what they say about gift horses.Continue reading →