Hear that sound?
The one that, best as I can make out, sounds like the tip of a shovel crashing into soil and rocks, slicing earthworms in two. Then again, and again, a sturdy boot pushing it in and prying it away. Pushing, prying, tossing. Push, pry, toss. Thud.
If you listen closely as you read, this is the sound Atticus Review is making this week. We are an archaeological site, a secret grave, a home for treasure and time capsules, a heart with chipped ice around its edges. We are getting to the bottom of something. Or maybe everything. Deep things.
Steven Gillis’s short story thrills, wows. Gillis explores the possibility of the cover-up, the filling back in, that sometimes occurs after we dig too fast, in the wrong place, for misguided reasons, or after feeling the tiniest tinge of shame at what we’ve found. “Deep Things” is a reminder that people who seem flat are often profound, and explore their own mysteries in exceptional ways. You might live next door to one of the characters—milling around in a ball caps and tee shirt, driving around with the windows down—and you would never know how far down each one is willing to mine to find something, anything, that feels, smells, tastes strange.
But aren’t we all drawn to the strange? “The God of Unknowable Reasons is a microscope in a way, brushing broadly from the idea of the all-encompassing and ineffable in the title, then zooming in to a toenail. Carl James Grindley juxtaposes past human potential with current human concerns, and positions the external against the internal, and trivia against the deeply knowable—and unknowable. What is it inside us that recognizes the familiar in the unfamiliar?
I don’t know. Do you? So let’s keep digging. For dinosaurs. With Diana Salier. Her poem, “What About the Dinosaur Problem,” confronts whatever is big and old and past, and has a killer last line that begs for contemplation as silent and heavy as the center of the earth. When you’re ready to let a little sound into that dark space, click on “Time,” Matt Mullins’s soundscape, where you’ll hear that time is (not?) on our side, and imagine how it’s possible for time to stretch deep, from temple to toenail.