The eleven prose pieces in this issue of Atticus Review portray and investigate various forms of loss, from the loss of family and lovers to the loss of childhood and innocence to the loss of faith and more. These stories also share in common reclamation. What the characters regain, or grasp for, may not be exactly what was lost, but loss is hardly the end of the story.
Welcome to The Lost & Found Issue!
From Kathleen Rooney’s flash fiction, “Le Bon Sens”: “If disenchantment is possible, then so is re-enchantment. Any circumstance, Georgette has read in Proust, consists of one-tenth chance and nine-tenths the disposition to let oneself fall under it. ‘I am ready,’ she says to Mag, ‘to be re-enchanted.’”
From Marlene Olin’s flash fiction, “The Whisperer”: “Together they watch the horse run to the other side of the corral. He tosses his head to the left and to the right. The back legs kick. ‘Is he mad at me?’ asks the girl. ‘If he wants to be mad, that’s okay,’ says the trainer. ‘If you want to be mad, that’s okay, too.’”
From Katherine Gehan’s flash fiction, “Ruby Throated”: “Antonio didn’t say anything about how hummingbird couples don’t nest together, how the females are left alone to build a home and tend babies, because he would never leave Calla alone to do that. Calla knew about the delicacy of life all too well, so he also didn’t tell her that if you hold a hummingbird you must not touch the tiny bone that divides its breast in two or it may go into cardiac arrest.”
From Kim Magowan’s flash fiction, “How to Fall Out”: “Now, listen to yourself. Listen when you tell your students to pay attention to the rhetoric we have for love. Hear yourself say desire, from desidare, means “to wish, to long for.” Point out to your students the implications of that: desire gropes towards what it can’t quite touch. Once sated, it ceases to mean, to be, desire.”
From J. Lee Strickland’s flash fiction, “The Note”: “She continues to search her memory, going deeper. An image of the baby, a wrinkled sack of flesh fresh from her womb. What a joy! What a relief to be free of that horrible bump, like a giant tumor. Not a malignancy. What, then? A benignancy? Yes, that’s what. A benignancy. An indignant benignancy. A benignant indignity. The words tumble around in her brain like wrestling children.”
From Tracy King-Sanchez’s creative nonfiction, “Lost in Montparnasse”: “Got lost today. I could lie and say I remained fearless, allowing my feet to serendipitously find their way back to the starting point. Instead, I panicked. Not all at once. At first, just a supine agitation at the base of my neck as I struggled against the desire to do a 360-degree canvass of my unfamiliar surroundings. I told myself this was part of a writer’s journey.”
From Cathy Ulrich’s flash fiction, “Photos of a Dead Actress”: “There are pictures on the wall of a famous actress. She’d been dead a long time. Dead forever. Before you were born; before your mother was. You ask her why does she like the dead actress so much. She was so sad, says your mother.”
From Kaitlyn Burd’s flash fiction, “Our Life is a Beacon Set to Swivel”: “Appetite returns, insistent. She can smell her onions wilting in the wine. Soon, she will have to add beef stock. No, she had not yet learned how to keep from craving what once had lived.”
From Erica Elsen’s short story, “Elephant Man”: “The feel of the nurse’s skin as she hugged me to her, and the cold hard moon of her stethoscope. The alien smell over everything: too clean and too new. A long white sheet. My mom gone and then back and then gone again. That’s all I remember from the day Dad died. The rest is just whiteness.”
From Alison Lanier’s essay, “Getting Lost at the Oscars”: “And yet, this is only further evidence that the stories we tell and celebrate often don’t make it out of the screen in a meaningful way. Like my day trips out of the city, when I’m liable to take a wrong turn in the Concord woods, the meaning glances sideways, off an armor of Academy prestige.”
From Paul Jaskunas’s essay, “Some Variety of Faith”: “If you could look at a black-and-white negative of my childhood religion, it would resemble this nightmare: I am not with God and family, but cut off from them. I am not forgiven, but irrevocably damned. I am not reassured in faith, but stricken with fear. I was a Catholic child with a preternatural dread of the absolute. The Church taught me to fear damnation. I am not sure this fear has done me any good in this life, but I do know that it is real.”
Photo by Neil Moralee