Amarillo Bay 
 Volume 16 Number 1 

Welcome to Amarillo Bay!

Something Good To Read
Volume 16 Number 1 — Published 3 February 2014

In addition to the works in this issue — the first issue of our sixteenth year — you can read the nearly 650 works (233 fiction, 78 creative nonfiction, 337 poetry) we have published since 1999. See the Previous Works, including the ability to search through the issues.


And Home
   by George August Meier George August Meier

George August Meier writes what he considers non-fiction by day—he's a trial attorney—and fiction during evenings and weekends. Three of his short stories won first place awards in Writers' Journal. His work has appeared in Forge, The Write Room, and Writers' Journal. He has been named one of Florida's "Elite Lawyers" by Florida Trend Magazine. He and his wife, Yvonne, and their dog, Lily, reside on a gator-infested lake in Winter Springs, Florida.

It was the summer of '97, and I was on the verge of honoring a promise. One made almost twenty-five years before by ten of us in the dimly lit back room of our favorite bar. We were crowded around three tables we had pulled together, and the bold promise was made as we drank the last pitcher of bourbon and ginger. That was how we drank it back then.

First, I had preparations to make. Actually Jesse's Auto-Body did. As I drove into its parking lot, my tires crunched on the gravel surface. The metal building that housed the business was streaked with rust. A large, crooked sign was perched over the front door. It read: WORK DONE RIGHT AND FAS–. The last letter was completely faded. I was counting on Jesse's mechanics to keep their promise to have my baby ready. They were restoring a 1962 Chevy Nova convertible I had recently purchased at an auto auction. I hadn't planned to be a bidder. I was at the auction accompanying a friend who was looking for a deal on a used car. But when they rolled the Nova under the bright lights of the auction stage, the identical model I drove in college, I fell in love with my first car all over again. I must have been in a trance on my first bid because I don't remember it. I do recall that my bidding got so frenetic, I actually bid against myself. That proved highly entertaining to the crowd. But maybe that enthusiasm discouraged my competition, since it only took one more bid to win my prize. One might chalk it up to sympathy on the part of the other bidders, but not me. At an auto auction the buyers have street smarts and black hearts.

Closer inspection revealed a myriad of dings, dents, and dimples I hadn't seen through my nostalgic inebriation. But my timing, I had thought, was excellent. There was almost four months between the auction and when my old gang promised to rendezvous back at the bar. I wanted to show up in the same car I had when the promise was made. This one would be in even better condition than the first Nova, which was about ten years old when I drove it. But time was running out. The restoration was taking too long. As I walked into the repair shop, I thought about the place we affectionately referred to as our "low-down bar," where we drank all that bourbon. The main room was large with low ceilings. The room we favored jutted off the back of the building like a porch. You stepped down from tile to a heavily worn wooden floor. There had to have been over ten beer taps, and they made every mixed drink ever concocted. Food seemed a secondary concern back then, but you could get a grizzly burger or skinny sandwich between drinks. Now that I'm older and a bit more "civilized," I wonder about the cleanliness of the place. I recall the lead bartender in a grungy t-shirt, and if I squint hard at the memory, I can see his stubby fingers with dirty nails.   Continue…

   by Janna Brooke Cohen Janna Brooke Cohen

Janna Brooke Cohen mothers, writes and weeds on her permaculture farm in New York's Hudson Valley. She has a BA in Education from The University of Florida and an MA in Counseling Psychology from New York University, a mess of children, a husband, chickens, dogs and crops. When she is not putting someone in "time-out," she is working on a novel and a collection of short stories. In the upcoming months, her works will be featured in upstreet and The Alembic.

James is coming over tonight, our third date if you count the lattes after I found his lost cell phone at the coffee place. He has a strong jaw, a Master's degree and a brogue, so the stakes are high. I Googled a recipe, but it makes me nervous, because it calls for a double boiler, and I rarely see the need to boil food singly.

I've enlisted my desk-mate, Jodi, for logistical and culinary support. One tiny snag . . . before we leave for lunch, I sort of steal her wallet, a cheap move, though not an easy one. Some women sneak the free donuts at reception when they're stressed. I'm not a sweets person. I steal. I like to wait for the perfect moment, when the person is frantic and distraught about the missing item, and then I "find" it for them, and we bask together in the connection of relief and gratitude. Bear claws and Boston crème's don't have that kind of muscle.

Given: Jodi's the type who knows where her things are. Her desk drawers are business Marines. The insides are wiped clean, pens and pencils loaded flawlessly into right-sized compartments in one of those plastic thingies from the organization store; none of the gum wrappers, old listing pages, and crumpled receipts that clog mine.

Logical conclusion: When Jodi busts me, it goes without saying that she won't be able to live with herself unless she presses charges. How do I know? Every morning she reads me truisms from her Tony Robbins desk calendar: If you can't, you must, and if you must, you can.

"And if you could, then you shouldn't," I tease, "and if you shouldn't, then you would."

Martin Lipchitz, the unfortunate-looking, small-handed man who completely gets me and works in the catty-corner cubicle chimes in, "And how much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"

"Very funny, you guys," Jodi says, good-naturedly, but I can see that Lipchitz and I have hurt her feelings. "Tony Robbins is extremely successful and wise. Maybe if you two read his books, you might stop your complaining about not doing better at work." She has a point, and here's another: Jodi Schwartz is a woman who knows the whereabouts of her wallet.   Continue…

Motorcycle Sunday
   by Stephen Davenport Stephen Davenport

Stephen Davenport has spent his life in education as a teacher, head of school, camp director and wilderness trip leader. Early in his career, he was also a part-time, free-lance journalist, contributing articles on conservation, education and backpacking to The New York Times Magazine and Travel Section, The Hartford Courant, and the now-defunct Saturday Review of Literature. Focusing now on fiction, he is the author of the novel Saving Miss Oliver's, set in an all-girls boarding school. He is currently working on the sequel to Saving Miss Oliver's and a series of connected short stories, of which "Motorcycle Sunday" is the first. This is his second appearance in Amarillo Bay. His first appearance was "The Last Visit" in Volume 13 Number 4.

On the June morning of my son's tenth birthday, I woke up in a surge of joy. For three days it had been raining, but now the Sunday sun poured through the window onto my face. We wouldn't have to postpone the birthday party after all.

"At last you're awake!" my wife said, reaching for my hand. "I've been waiting for hours." Her head rested on my shoulder, and her body touched mine all along its length.

"Yes, it's Siddy's birthday," I said. "And the weather's fine."

"I know. I've been watching the sky through the windows." She turned and planted a kiss on my chest. "Mmmm. Nice." And moved my hand under her pajama top.

"Peg, we better not. Siddy'll wake up early today."

"We've got time," she murmured, then kissed me again and began to unbutton her pajama top.

Of course it was just then our bedroom door burst open and our son charged into the room and up to the side of the bed. Peggy pulled back from me just in time. "Happy birthday, Siddy!" I said as, under the covers, Peggy buttoned her top again.

The sun coming in through the windows lay on the lovely roundness of Siddy's head, lighting his blond hair, and I reached out to hug him; but Siddy was jumping up and down and was unhuggable. "Hey, get up. It's my birthday and it's not raining!" he said.

Peggy sat up in bed and sang, "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Sidereeeeno, happy birthday to yoooou." She leaned over me and I looked straight up at her round and pendulous breasts under her pajama top while she kissed our son on his forehead, and I was overcome with happiness at the day that had started so well and stretched out splendidly before us: I would paddle Peggy and Siddy and Siddy's friend, Petey McLaughlin, in the family canoe across the Barkhamstead Lake Reservoir to a picnic site where we'd cook the hot dogs and eat the birthday cake and give the presents. And tonight, after our beloved son was fast asleep, what he had just interrupted was a promise Peggy would keep.   Continue…

Roman-Irish Baths
   by Kathleen Glassburn Kathleen Glassburn

Kathleen Glassburn earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Currently, she resides in Seattle with her husband, three dogs, a tomcat, and a 45-year-old turtle. When not writing or reading, she likes to play the piano and horseback ride. Her work has been published in Cadillac Cicatrix, Cairn, Crucible, Epiphany Magazine, Lullwater Review, Marco Polo Quarterly, RiverSedge, SLAB, The Talon Mag, Wild Violet, The Writer's Workshop Review, and several other journals. Her story, "Picnics," was a finalist in Glimmer Train's Best Start contest. She is Managing Editor of The Writer's Workshop Review (

Check her website at for more information.

Molly's brown eyes squinted open. Dimmed lights barely illuminated wavering shapes, like peering through a sheer, billowing curtain. Wrapped in a heated blanket, arms scrunched against her sides, she wiggled her fingers.

A woman said, "That's good. You're coming to."

Focusing to the right, Molly noticed an empty chair. She clumped her heavy-as-a-bowling-ball head in that direction. Another bed—empty. Sloshing back to the center, she took a ragged breath and strained to lift herself. A throbbing, burning sensation radiated from the left side of her chest.

The woman wore a baggy pink top with comical bears leering at her.

Where am I?

A stethoscope hung around the bear woman's neck.

A disinfectant smell . . . Seattle General.

"We'll have you to a room in a snap." The woman flopped down on the chair and took Molly's wrist. "Pulse fine. You're in Recovery. How do you feel?"

"Left side . . . it's hot." As if to dispute this statement, Molly shivered and goose bumps rose on her arms

"Normal. We'll get you on more pain meds."

"Normal for what?"

"Honey, I'm sorry. Doctor did a mastectomy."   Continue…

Creative Nonfiction

Yom Kippur vs. the Giants
   by Megan Vered Megan Vered

Following her mother's death in 2011, Megan Vered penned a family story that she sent to her siblings every Friday. This essay is part of that collection.

Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the "First Person" column of the San Francisco Chronicle, The Diverse Arts Project, and Mezzo Cammin, and she is among the authors featured in the "Story Chairs" short story installation at Jack Straw Productions in Seattle.

For more information, see her Web site,

We hover in the doorway, wait patiently for the congregation to stand. I shift my weight from one foot to the other; my shiny black Mary Janes slick against the floor. Mom grips my hand in hers. I recognize the signal: Don't make a scene. I still have smoke coming out of my ears because of the slip she forced me to wear. At least I talked her out of the idiotic undershirt. My mother is a well-wrapped package and wants us to follow in her footsteps. She hopes we will appear inconspicuous, but I know that all eyes are on us, given that there are seven in our party. My eyes open and close like butterfly kisses as they adjust to the darkened room. Comforted and at the same time repelled by the scent of dusty prayer books, stale perfume and musty mothballs, I search through the swaying sea of people for familiar faces. My mother is trying to look invisible and put together at the same time. My family—like peonies—blooms once a year on the High Holidays, fragrant and colorful.

It is October 1962, the morning of Yom Kippur and—because my father, the irreverent agnostic could not tear himself away from pregame coverage—we are forty-five minutes late for services. The San Francisco Giants are playing the New York Yankees in the final game of the World Series. Yom Kippur vs. the World Series. No contest. Today is Game Four.  Continue…


About the Whiteness of the Whale
   by Gwendolyn Jensen Gwendolyn Jensen

The print and online journals where poems by Gwendolyn Jensen have appeared include Amethyst Arsenic, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Comstock Review, Harvard Review, The Malahat Review, Measure, Nashville Review, Salamander, Sanskrit, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.

After spending many years in academia, Gwendolyn retired from the presidency of Wilson College in 2001. She now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and serves as a board member of Off the Grid Press, a press for poets over sixty. Birthright, her first book, was published by Birch Brook Press in a letterpress edition (with a second printing in 2012).

A lamb, a combed white bear, an albatross,
driven snow, warm milk, an old man's sweat,
a string of pearls, a kitten's purr, the gloss
on drifted wood, cream cheese on a baguette,   Continue…

After You Died
   by Gwendolyn Jensen Gwendolyn Jensen

The print and online journals where poems by Gwendolyn Jensen have appeared include Amethyst Arsenic, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Comstock Review, Harvard Review, The Malahat Review, Measure, Nashville Review, Salamander, Sanskrit, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.

After spending many years in academia, Gwendolyn retired from the presidency of Wilson College in 2001. She now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and serves as a board member of Off the Grid Press, a press for poets over sixty. Birthright, her first book, was published by Birch Brook Press in a letterpress edition (with a second printing in 2012).

But of course I didn't know you had died, not right away.
I was at a meeting, drove home, and Father told me, and we
embraced for you, and for each other. We had to go to you,
we had to arrange for what was left. The woman who cleaned
for us arrived, and I was abrupt with her when she asked a
question about her day's work. Our daughter died, I said,
and we must go now. We flew to you, to your house. We   Continue…

Last Ride on the Sad Monkey
   by Dave A. McGinnis Dave A. McGinnis

Dave A. McGinnis currently works as Assistant Professor of Theatre/English at Saint Leo University in Florida, but he was born in Amarillo, Texas. He graduated from Tascosa High School, West Texas A&M University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is married to Brook, a graduate of Amarillo High School, West Texas A&M, and UNLV herself. Romeo and Juliet have nothing on such star-crossing, though, as a Rebel and a Sandy engaging in matrimony.

The tracks creak beneath our happy cars,
Linked by
Rust that holds
Through breaking snows
Whipping rain
Unending sun
To carry out their given task:
To shepherd us
Through the canyon.   Continue…

Stopping by the Lake on a Summer Night
   by Jodi Adamson Jodi Adamson

Jodi Adamson received her BA from Huntingdon College and her pharmacy doctorate from Auburn University Pharmacy School. She works at a local retail pharmacy as a staff pharmacist. Along with her illustrator, Stacey Hopson, she has published an illustrated book entitled The Ten Commandments for Pharmacists, a humorous look at the world of pharmacy dos and don'ts.

Her poem "Lost Civilizations" won first place in the Alabama State Poetry Society Fall Contest. She also had her poetry reviewed by New work has appeared or is forthcoming in Clackamas Literary Review, Forge, The Griffin, The Old Red Kimono, The Prelude, RiverSedge, The Starry Night Review, and the anthologies Dreams of Steam III and It Was a Dark and Stormy Night.

As the crazy full moon shone,
Lapped at the dark, serpentine lake
While she skipped a rough, silver stone.

Bare feet crunched on the bank alone.
She, with no thought to the day's headache,
As the crazy full moon shone.   Continue…

Un Chien Andalou
   by Brian Thornton Brian Thornton

Brian Thornton's poems have been featured in several print and online publications, including Iron Horse Literary Review, War Literature and the Arts, Breakwater Review, and International Kurdish Press. Most recently, his collection Places We Were Never Meant to See received runner-up in the Hub City Press New Southern Voices Poetry Prize.

The padded vise holds my head
snug like a nun's habit draped sterile
in fear of what the doctor gods must do
with those knives and needles resting
on the table and I have to wonder
if Himler was an ophthalmologist
if he too wondered what hid behind
the ocular cavities of his patients   Continue…

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Works are published the first Monday of February, the third Monday of May, the first Monday of August, and the first Monday of November.

2014, Volume 16 Number 4, 3 November 2014 — Future Issue
Number 3, 4 August 2014 — Future Issue
Number 2, 19 May 2014 — Future Issue

Number 1, 3 February 2014 — Current Issue
2013, Volume 15 Number 4, 4 November 2013
Number 3, 5 August 2013
Number 2, 20 May 2013
Number 1, 4 February 2013
2012, Volume 14 Number 4, 5 November 2012
Number 3, 6 August 2012
Number 2, 21 May 2012
Number 1, 6 February 2012
2011, Volume 13 Number 4, 7 November 2011
Number 3, 1 August 2011
Number 2, 16 May 2011
Number 1, 7 February 2011
2010, Volume 12 Number 4, 1 November 2010
Number 3, 2 August 2010
Number 2, 17 May 2010
Number 1, 1 February 2010
2009, Volume 11 Number 4, 2 November 2009
Number 3, 3 August 2009
Number 2, 18 May 2009
Number 1, 2 February 2009
2008, Volume 10 Number 4, 3 November 2008
Number 3, 18 August 2008
Number 2, 19 May 2008
Number 1, 11 February 2008
2007, Volume 9 Number 4, 12 November 2007
Number 3, 6 August 2007
Number 2, 7 May 2007
Number 1, 5 February 2007
2006, Volume 8 Number 4, 6 November 2006
Number 3, 7 August 2006
Number 2, 8 May 2006
Number 1, 6 February 2006
2005, Volume 7 Number 4, 7 November 2005
Number 3, 8 August 2005
Number 2, 2 May 2005
Number 1, 7 February 2005
2004, Volume 6 Number 4, 1 October 2004
Number 3, 2 August 2004
Number 2, 3 May 2004
Number 1, 2 February 2004
2003, Volume 5 Number 4, 3 November 2003
Number 3, 4 August 2003
Number 2, 5 April 2003
Number 1, 3 February 2003
2002, Volume 4 Number 4, 4 November 2002
Number 3, 5 August, 2002
Number 2, 6 May 2002
Number 1, 4 February 2002
2001, Volume 3 Number 4, 5 November 2001
Number 3, 6 August 2001
Number 2, 7 May 2001
Number 1, 5 February 2001
2000, Volume 2 Number 4, 6 November 2000
Number 3, 7 August 2000
Number 2, 1 May 2000
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1999, Volume 1 Number 3, 1 November 1999
Number 2, 2 August 1999
Number 1, 3 May 1999