This edition of Atticus Review doesn’t center on a theme, but rather tries to pair a poem, flash piece, and short story with another, like irregular wings or high quality but mismatched socks. How each one feels can depend in part, interestingly, on the nature of the other. And how else to mark our progress but against the presence of a companion.Our issue gets off the ground with two small gems—poems by Sandra Marchetti and Ricky Garni. “The moon resolves/ to a crescent of sparrows;” So begins Marchetti’s “Skyward” as it captures the mystery and allure of the night sky in dense, gorgeous strokes. Clever and lovely, “Comma Sutra,” by Ricky Garni is the day to Marchetti’s night, a celebration of grammar and awareness and sex in one broken powerhouse line.
Our two flash pieces contrast in tone, as well, while they show our tendencies to fetishize. In “Childhoods,” Nora Maynard achieves the swift realization of character required by good flash, and an almost effortless suggestion of a life’s wide scope. She plumbs the lasting effects of how we view our own childhoods, and the motivations behind our often-heartbreaking urge to connect. Ursula Villarreal-Moura’s piece, “The Posture of a Gentleman,” mocks our aversion to age and change. The stuffed monkey in her darkly hilarious story demonstrates how an inanimate object can function in narrative to triangulate and emotionally absorb, to observe with the implied judgment of the taciturn.
Our short stories find their link in radical voice. Big, riveting voices. Voices that risk. “This Dead & Dying World,” by edward j rathke, rolls out in a sweeping, nightmarish tumble of post-apocalyptic song that never relents or falters in its energy. Brilliant and haunting, rathke’s story terrifies with its imagery but the resonant fire of survival burns in its heart, “a pageant of hope at the top of the world.” Although worlds apart in style, the outrageous voice that narrates Yarrow Paisley’s, “The Prince of Pee,” succeeds in exuberant consistency. Here, the big voice blusters and fancifies and does everything it can to elevate the ordinary. Shoe salesmen, masturbators, social outcasts. The effect is comic, but we can always see through the noise to a tender soul, desperate to matter in the face of anonymity.
Photo By: Luca Rossato