Issue #9

(July/August 1995)

cabin in the hills - #9 cover

cover drawing by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

(based on a drawing for "Progress")

Table of Contents

full or partial text is availablefor highlighted items

 

Stories

Poetry

 

September 18,1997


© Copyright 1997 Echoes Magazine

All stories, poems, and drawings are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form, by copying or by any electronic or mechanical means, without written permission from Echoes Magazine. Individual stories and poems are also copyright by their authors; drawings are copyright by Echoes Magazine and by the artists.


 

Progress

by Lisa Parker

In a ton of black gold
boring through the fatness of the Blue Ridge
on the Clinchfield freight lines,
three generations are trapped.
The first generation talks in
short bursts of emphysemic speech,
trying to stand straight,
coughing quietly while
the second generation
glorifies the first,
pretends insomnia when the spastic sleep wheezing comes,
pretends not to see
the third generation
following him,
trying to smell puffs of pine and mountain laurel
through coal clots,
seeing black-filled handkerchiefs as
proof of manhood.
But a widow,
a childless mother,
sits on a crooked porch and
knows:
In piles of dust and ungrateful steam,
three generations cough mutely in
the face of Industrial Progress.

the cover illustration was created by FerrilynSourdiffe for this poem:

cabin inhills

© Copyright 1995 Lisa Parker

Lisa Parker is a recent graduate of George Mason Universityand is now a member of Penn State's MFA program in creative writing.Her writing explores different facets of her life, including memoriesof growing up in rural Virginia. Lisa is also working on children'sstories for a friend's eagerly awaited baby. In the future she hopesto teach creative writing. (6/95)

[Table of Contents]


Fire Cries

by Sylvia Petter

 

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

 . . . The lake was flat and grey as I looked out across Geneva on a cold February morning. Behind me droned the CNN news. "Flames moved in on Sydney's suburbs Friday, destroying seven houses as wind-fueled bush fires raged across the hot, dry southeastern part of Australia," clipped the voice of the news reader. I jolted as I heard the names of familiar suburbs, of Normanhurst, my home town. I switched off the set and stubbed out my half-smoked cigarette.

"We're all right, dear. Don't worry. It's nowhere near us. Anyway, you know bushfires. We always have them in the summer, or have you forgotten?" Was that a quiet smile in my mother's voice?

Had I forgotten? It had been twenty years since I'd left. I'd burned to go, but I'd only meant to stay away one year. Find my roots, I'd said. It was the thing to do. More noble than just going off to see the world.

I'd returned for visits, cramming three years into a fortnight, the way I stretched daily life into cards on birthdays and at Christmas. I lit another cigarette and inhaled deeply. I wonder what's really happening. What if the flames have reached the bush?

The bush came right up to the back of the house. It was my playground. I remembered the times I'd gone down there with Henry.

Heavens, I hadn't thought of him in years. How old was I--must have been about eleven. Yes, I'd just got my first period. I was so scared. Thought I was bleeding to death. All that blood. No one home. Dad was at work. He was always at work. I cried and cried.

 

Mum came back with Henry--she'd fetched him from the station, as usual. She calmed me down, must have said something to Henry, too, for after I cleaned up he was standing there, so easy, dark and lanky.

"Want to go for a walk in the bush?"

I grinned. "Righto."

I'd been down in the bush with Henry before, but never alone with him; Mum had always been with us. Even Dad came once. But we'd always taken well-trodden paths. This time, I'd show Henry my secret spots, ones I'd never dared show my parents. . . .

Angie & Henry go for a walk
illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

 

© Copyright 1995 Sylvia Petter

Sylvia Petter is a forty-six-year-old native of Australiawho now works for an international organization in Geneva. She liveswith her husband and daughter in France. She reports thatVision, an Australian magazine, published two of her poemswhen she was sixteen. Sylvia started writing fiction in her sparetime in 1993, and has been published in Switzerland, Japan, and theUnited States. (6/95)

[Table of Contents]


Momentary Stay by a Pond

Jianquing Zheng

White clouds
swim
in the pond,

trouts
slither
on the sky,

his own image
is a dark shadow
in this blue mirror.

To smash it,
he throws a rock
hard,

only disturbs
a frog's peace
on a waterlily.

© Copyright 1995 Jianquing Zheng

Jianquing Zheng is a native of China and has been writingformal Chinese poetry since his graduation from high school in 1976.He began to write poetry in English in 1991 and is now completing hisdoctorate in creative writing at the University of SouthernMississippi. Jianqing was winner of the 1994 Georgetown Review PoetryContest. (6/95)

[Table of Contents]


Outside the Lines

by Linda K. Wright

 

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

They're going to do it again. I know because Daddy has his arms crossed and Mommy's banging the pot on the stove. They're going to start yelling, and I do not want to be here.

I back out of the kitchen slowly, hoping they won't see me, hoping the loud voices will not start until I can get to my room. I watch them as I back away. They don't look at each other. They don't look at me. I tiptoe upstairs, on the side of each step; 'cause in the middle they creak. I go into my room and close the door. I know I'm safe when the door shuts tight and clicks.

I turn my back to the door and look around. This is my room. It has all my things in it, and they are all "just so." Just like Mommy says they're supposed to be. I made my bed this morning. I'm five and Mommy says I can make my own bed. I have my toy box, my dresser, my trash basket, and my play table and chair. It is my pretend desk. I sit there when I'm practicing writing my letters and numbers. And I sit there when I color. I go to my toy box now and get my coloring book and crayons. My coloring book has words at the top of each page so I can learn to read.

I turn the pages of my book. The voices downstairs sound like when the TV is turned all the way up. I turn the pages of my book louder. I find one I haven't colored yet. It is a picture of a mother and a father and a little boy walking through the grass. It is called "The Family." The little boy is walking between the mother and the father and they are all holding hands. The mother's other hand holds a blanket. The father's other hand holds a picnic basket. I take the crayons out of the box, one at a time, and put them on the table. I have brown, black, yellow, red, purple, white, blue, and green. I put all the crayons in a line and I am ready to start.

Mommy and Daddy are yelling. The voices come into my room from downstairs.

"What more do you want from me?"

Mommy yells back. "You could let me help with the expenses. Supporting a kid costs a lot of money; I can get a job. But no-o-o, you and your family want me to stay at home with Karen."

I will color the mother's hair brown. Mommy's hair is yellow, like Daddy's. First, I put a heavy brown outline around where the hair is, then I color it in. Mommy taught me to do it that way so I'd stay in the lines. She says it's important to not to go outside the lines. The father's hair will be black. I sit back in my chair and look at what I did so far. It's good. I stayed inside the lines. I would like to hear singing, instead of the yelling downstairs. Sometimes Mommy lets me borrow the little radio from her bedroom, so I can listen to singing when I color. But I am not allowed to take the radio without asking. And I don't want to go ask her right now. . . .

Karen coloring in her room
illustration by Adelia Sugarman

 

© Copyright 1995 Linda K. Wright

Linda K. Wright has worked as a logistics technician formany years, and has recently started to write fiction and poetry on asteady basis. Most of her work deals with societal issues. Lindanames poets Nikki Giovanni and Robert Browning and fiction writersToni Morrison and Ursula LeGuin as influences on her writing.(6/95)

[Table of Contents]


Pony Poem

by Allison deFreese

Oh, no! I don't want a little pony any more,
no tung-oiled saddle with my birthday candles,
no golden spurs, pink bandannas, or Prancer pajamas,
and I won't ask again for a bottle-fed foal,
for my own ivory mare with a candy-striped colt
or a white horse to roam in lush orchard groves,
or a strawberry roan whose mane I can comb.

No teams of winged ponies ever raised me to their sky,
Not those spring-tethered steeds at the Springsdale playground.
I know only nightmares, sweat-stained blankets where
I dreamed of wild stallions, red centaurs, half-animals
with blood-shot eyes and sword-length grey horns,
tense muscles up their necks and massive heads,
two drops of saliva dripping off each chin.

No one waits for thrown riders to stumble back home,
goes after lost fillies, tries to find fallen calves.
He came only afterwards (no tassels or chaps)
silent, white-clad, an iron in his right hand
which left no mark outside and wasn't a brand.
I crawled from those stirrups, watched the sun fade,
then cropped thirteen years off my own mane-length braids.

© Copyright 1995 Allison deFreese

Allison deFreese recently completed an MA in English at theUniversity of Texas at Austin. Allison is a Kansas native whosepoetry has appeared in several literary magazines, includingPotpourri, Dog Stories, Borderlands,Rust, and The Indiana Review. (6/95)

[Table of Contents]


Only Mothers Cry at Weddings

by Myrna Marler

 

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

Cady didn't even smile when Marta told him their daughter Ginny had met a fellow at the university and was getting married. Some of the people he knew thought this was in keeping with his crusty-exterior, heart-of-gold, open-wallet image. After all, Ginny was marrying a college graduate who was studying for his master's degree--a potential college professor. Indeed, handsome Phil was everything Cady would have planned for his daughter, if he'd been the planning kind. And whenever he thought of Ginny's marriage, now only a few days away, a pain settled in his chest, very much like indigestion.

This dull pain awoke with him every morning, clicking on with the clock radio, a click he always heard because he was conscious and blinking into the pre-dawn darkness. These mornings his bones ached, reminding him of winter, and the air outside the bed seemed colder. But the disc jockey repeating last night's baseball scores proved that summer was still here. The habit of years made him turn to Marta--a heavy mound in the bed beside him, snoring with her mouth open--and push at her, not gently, with his foot. "Get up," he always said.

Even on the morning before the accident, he faced himself under the same bathroom mirror and saw again the grooves running from nose to chin, and the pouches under his eyes giving him a look of permanent sadness. "Bedroom eyes," Marta had called them twenty years ago when the pouches first made their appearance. Now she wondered aloud if he had allergies. Cady fingered the bald spot at his crown, recently grown from a dime to a quarter. Ginny, catching him rubbing it one night, had laughed and called him "skinhead." He'd just looked at her, as he often did. As he picked up the razor, he turned his eyes away from his thinning hair to his hands. Once slim and supple, now they were knotted, veined, weather-beaten from years of working outdoors. Life was like that, he'd told himself every morning since early June. Things changed, and not for the better.

. . . .

Cady sensed Ginny behind him and turned his head. Swathed in a nylon nightgown, she was yawning, blinking at the yellow light from the overhead bulb. Her tangled dark hair hung down her back. When she raised her arms in a final stretch, her shoulders looked thin and defenseless. She sniffed at the ham and smiled. "Smells potent, Dad."

"You want some?"

She seemed to consider, then shook her head, a heavy rope of black hair falling across her cheek, hiding her eyes. "Dad," she said, "pork is evil. It'll clog your arteries and kill you. I'll have a piece of toast later."

He shrugged. He'd fixed her an egg and slice of ham every morning since she was twelve, until she'd gone away to college.

She said, "I really came down to fix Phil's lunch. I have his note ready." She showed him the little square of paper in her hand, and the diamond flashed on her finger. He turned back to the fry pan to see the edges of his eggs turning brown. Every day, Ginny fixed Phil a sack lunch, complete with dessert and fruit, colored the bag with hearts and flowers, and tucked a note inside. Then she would hand it to Cady, and he--like some doltish messenger boy, he thought--would obediently take it to Phil. At noon, Phil ate the lunch only after drawing away to read the note. He always returned looking like a rookie who'd just pitched a no-hitter, and took a huge bite out of the sandwich Ginny had prepared. By then, Cady's own sandwich had turned to a doughy ball in his fists. . . .

lunchbagchampagne & carnations
illustrations by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

 

© Copyright 1995 Myrna Marler

Myrna Marler teaches English at Brigham YoungUniversity-Hawaii and heads the creative writing program there, andis completing a PhD in American studies at the University of Hawaii.Writing credits include The New Era, Ensign, TheWasatch Review International, and Sunstone(6/95)

 

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