Man in Wheelchair in Stratford Pub
Arrie Barnes Porter

I met a man
Who loved me today
Heard him say
Come here
Come here
You’re quite beautiful
Aren’t you
You’ve made an old man happy
And I placed my arms around his shoulders
To love him back

Arrie Barnes Porter is a native San Antonian and grew up on the city’s north side in Kenwood. She studied politics and sociology at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado and subsequently received her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas. Arrie is the former publisher and senior editor of Nubian Notes magazine, a regional publication. Trained as a public administrator and political scientist, Arrie Porter is a poet who works in neighborhood revitalization. She writes to further her work and to inform. Her love of writing has led her to the pursuit of the MA/MFA degree in Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice from Our Lady of the Lake University, to honor the craft that is her passion.


On Sharing a Birthday with Pablo Neruda
Vivian Wagner

If little by little you stop loving me,
I shall stop loving you little by little,
he warned, but he knew I wouldn’t stop.
He knew it was an empty threat.
He’s gone now, and I’m reciprocating
with my own slow deterioration,
my body a poem of condensing spine and
thinning blood, my heart stretching and hiccupping,
repeating his words for solace, to the end:
My love feeds on your love, beloved.
Still, though, we share a beginning,
a birthday, a cake knighted by a
crown of flickering light.
And this: the present.

Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Creative Nonfiction, The Atlantic, The Ilanot Review, Silk Road Review, Zone 3, Eyedrum Periodically, 3QR, and other publications. She’s also the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books).


Problem Sets for a Math Teacher
Lynne Viti

I. A Set of One
At fourteen, my teeth encased in braces
afraid of math, more afraid to fail but
burning up to beat down that language of numbers
with pencil and eraser,
I was a hard case.
But you cracked me,
made me ease up on myself,
showed me how the numbers worked out
on both sides of equations.
Your patience forced me.
Like a bulb pushing out green stalk
From a kitchen window in winter.
I extruded solutions,
learned the lexicon of x and y, q.e.d.

II. Keeping Track
One never thinks of a nun
as a bloodhound, but even once
we left school and plunged
fast into the world
you seemed always to find us,
trace our paths to a street address
or post office box.
You wanted news of our new lives,
details from the altar,
the nursery, the office, the court—
You made the connections we craved,
got them down in print, sent them off to us
like paper boats on the muddy river
their candles burning against the black water.
You were the reminder of where we’d been,
and why we had to hold you
and one another in our hearts.

Lynne Viti is a senior lecturer in the Writing Program at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Her poetry collection, Baltimore Girls, (Finishing Line) was published in March of this year. She has published most recently in Pen in Hand, Light, The South Florida Poetry Journal, Little Patuxent Review, Mountain Gazette, Amuse-Bouche, Paterson Review, and Right Hand Pointing. She blogs at stillinschool.wordpress.com.


Tonight’s Menu
Tatiana V. Johnson

A glass of milk for healthy teeth and bones,
And a drop of honey for antibiotic.
A broccoli stalk for healthy blood,
And an orange for your immune system.
A glass of water for your skin,
And carrots for your fingernails.
A spoonful of sugar for the pain,
And a capsule of cinnamon for the waist line.
A dab of vanilla just behind the ears,
And again, a swig of apple vinegar for the belly.
A fish oil gel cap for your hair
And a teaspoon of sugar for the pain.
A glass of cranberry juice for the kidneys,
And grapefruit for your metabolism.
A pinch of St. James wort for depression
And a lettuce leaf for lunch.
A sniff of sugar for the pain,
And green tea for your gut.
A glass of wine to kick the Zoloft,
And cotton ball dipped in orange juice for dinner.
A Xanax for the anxiety,
And a snort of sugar for the pain.
A shot of anything strong for focus
And a prayer for dessert.
A dash of lime for the smell
All the family is coming to dinner.

Tatiana V. Johnson is a full-time, undergraduate student studying for a BA in English at Our Lady of the Lake University. She is studying technical and professional writing but does conduct research in all eras of British Literature, Xicana cultural prose, and queer theory. Currently she is influenced by the authors and poets David Day, Gloria Anzaldúa, and J.R.R. Tolkien.


Memory
Victoria Ramirez

My flesh aches, craves, yearns,
For the warmth of that leather couch.
Sun shining in from the bay windows
Upon my face.
My eyelids fall –heavy.
They don’t discriminate against
The light.
My ears embrace
My sisters’ laughter,
The chatter from the TV.
I hear the slam of the
Backdoor. My dad stomping in
Brown boots, wearing grass
And lawnmower gasoline.
Mom’s cooking something
Spicy with cheese and meat
In the oven.
Remember.
This couch, this sun,
This sound,
Welcomes sleep more
Gently than a dark room
And silence.

Victoria Ramirez obtained her BA in English with a minor in technical and professional writing from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Texas where she is now attending graduate school while working as a writing consultant and freelance editor. Victoria finds writing is a release from her anxiety, a platform to expose injustice, and a way to celebrate life and beauty.

 

The Thing Itself Issue 44- “Man in Wheelchair in Stratford Pub,” “On Sharing a Birthday with Pablo Neruda,” “Problem Sets for a Math Teacher,” Tonight’s Menu,” and “Memory”

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