Amarillo Bay 
 Volume 16 Number 4 

Welcome to Amarillo Bay!

Something Good To Read
Volume 16 Number 4 — Published 3 November 2014

In addition to the works in this issue — the fourth issue of our sixteenth year — you can read the aproximately 688 works (247 fiction, 83 creative nonfiction, 358 poetry) we have published since 1999. See the Previous Works, including the ability to search through the issues.

Fiction Editor: Richard Moseley Richard Moseley

Richard Moseley is professor emeritus in English at West Texas A&M University who taught literary courses in modern short fiction, film and literature, Southwestern literature, and the contemporary American novel. His degrees are from the University of Texas at Austin (B.A.) and the University of Cincinnati (M.A. and Ph.D.).

Arms Raised in America
   by D Ferrara D Ferrara

D Ferrara is a frequently published writer of articles, essays, and short stories in publications including The Penman Review, Green Prints, The Law Studies Review, The New York Law Journal, and RIMS Magazine. Her short story, Then and Now, was long listed in the Able Muse Write Prize for Fiction; her screenplay, Alvin Lindemeyer Takes Canarsie, was a Top Finalist in the ASU Screenwriting Contest; her play, Favor, won the New Jersey ACT award for Outstanding Production of an Original Play; and her plays, Sister Edith's Mission and Business Class, were produced at the Malibu Repertory Company's One Act Play Festival. Three of her full-length film scripts have been optioned.

Worst storm to hit the Midwest in almost thirty years, the radio said. Thirty years ago, she had been living in New York. She did still. The Midwest was a dimly realized concept having something to do with cows. Cornfields.

Her flight had been diverted two hundred miles from where she needed to be. She drove madly for five hours before her cell phone found service, a few miles from her meeting. The message: meeting cancelled, with not even an apology for her wasted trip.

She pulled to what she hoped was the side of the road, hazard lights ticking. Resting her forehead on the steering wheel, she listened to the rain clattering over the car, tallying up the costs: So many drops for airfare, the rented car, the hotel room, missed opportunities elsewhere . . . Time. Lost. Useless.

Somehow, she found her hotel. Without having been here, she knew the rooms would have beige walls, a hunter green and burgundy bedspread, a too small desk, a too hard chair, rubbery pillows. Faint whiff of must. A room with anywhere outside and nowhere within.

All this was a reminder that the promise of clean sheets had replaced the spirit of discovery, as if the point of travel were not to experience the new but to recreate the same place again and again.

The apologetic young man at the front desk explained that the restaurant was closed because of the storm; he offered her cereal from the breakfast supplies in the lounge.

"Or," he said with a smile, "The Mall is still open."   Continue…

The Bet
   by Evalyn Lee Evalyn Lee

Evalyn Lee is a former CBS news producer who now lives in London and is working on her first novel: "The Rise and Fall of Jackie Bridges."

My car rocks to a stop on its chassis. The joint is quiet and the silence hot. I don't like wearing a tie. I pull it down to the first button as I open the door of my Chevy. Then I take it off and put it and my office jacket on the vinyl bench seat. The small figure of the woman I want walks toward me. The swing of her hips knocks me sideways. I'm the first customer, her best customer, standing in the parking lot of her dad's crab shack on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

The brown paper tablecloth rustles as I sit down at a corner table overlooking the dock.

"What can I get you?" she asks.

"You know what I want," I say. "But I guess a tray of crabs will have to do me."

I even like the way her dirty white Keds gap away from the arch of her foot. There is something innocent and enticing in the dark of that sweaty shadow. I imagine running my thumb along the edge of her foot and licking the smell of her off my finger as the hiss of the match ignites my first cigarette out of the third pack of the day. I've been up since three and at work since four. By eleven o'clock I'm hungry.

I want this woman.   Continue…

Nine Stories About Kathy Marshall
   by Chris Guthrie Chris Guthrie

Chris Guthrie is Editor-in-Chief for Open Book Editors and a fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in Washington Square Review, Litro Magazine, Crazyhorse, and once before in Amarillo Bay. His novel, The Shack Cartel,will be released in early 2015. He lives in Newport News, Virginia with his wife, Beth, and children, Ava and Dylan.

1. Sweeps Week

The guys in the viewing room behind the storage closet at the far end of the newsroom said Kathy was a force of nature. Broken cameras were stacked next to battery packs and boxes of show tapes, with old tapes scattered everywhere, like a dorm room for photogs. An old linear tape deck sat beneath a monitor. The photogs would close the door and use it to show porn.

A.J. sat scrolling through video and shook his head. A freeze frame of her stand-up hovered over him. Her popularity throughout the market was instantly massive and built mostly on rumor. Some said she was a Rhodes Scholar and others said she once flew the Space Shuttle. She had only been a reporter for nine months after spending the first six in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the locals had never seen anyone like her. She had her choice of medium-sized local news markets and chose Norfolk, where she could make mistakes without anyone noticing and put together kicker packages at the beach three days a week. Kevin Connors recruited her relentlessly after seeing her air checks, and they sat in his window-walled office every day, ironing out the world's problems.

Her beauty made her universally unapproachable. This was already clear. Nobody would talk to her. Women resented her and men assumed she wouldn't talk to them. Others thought she was a snob, but I knew the truth. She was a freak of nature—majestic and self-deprecating. Her father was a bald eagle and her mother was an '80s sitcom, plaid afghans on the couch. She label-whored Versace blouses but snorted if you drew crude pictures on her desk calendar mat. She voiced stand-ups for her packages with perfect sorority posture, elbow angled slightly and torso turned, the upraised chin of the self-esteemed. But I knew her for who she was—endangered and retro chic, august and campy, a dyed-in-the-wool ice fisher and a genuine snow queen..   Continue…

The Joining
   by Dennis Must Dennis Must

Dennis Must is the author of two novels: The World's Smallest Bible, Red Hen Press, Pasadena, CA (2014), and forthcoming Hush Now, Don't Explain, Coffeetown Press, Seattle, WA (October, 2014), plus two short story collections: Oh, Don't Ask Why, Red Hen Press (2007), and Banjo Grease, Creative Arts Book Company, Berkeley, CA (2000). His plays have been performed Off Off Broadway and his fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary reviews. He resides with his wife in Salem, Massachusetts. For more information, visit him at This is his third appearance in Amarillo Bay.

"Jess, did you happen to see Tom?"

"Yes, ma'am. He was wearing his summer straw."

"Oh, downtown was he? Shaking hands with the passersby?"

Best she fabricate pictures in her own mind, their handyman thought, for that morning, as the sun rose over Sixth Street Bridge, he'd witnessed Tom Hubbard veer his black Packard Phaeton into the Allegheny River. Attired in a straw hat, stiff white collar, and regimental braces like he was out for a Sunday drive, the mortician sat stoically poised, hands on the wheel as the automobile drifted toward the Ohio—the confluence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela one hundred yards south at Gateway Point.

When the policeman showed up at the door, she listened in shock to him.

"I hollered, Mrs. Hubbard, I swear I did. 'Tom, God Almighty, Tom, jump out!' He didn't move a muscle, kept staring at the road—except now it was the river road—and the water rising up his cheeks. Then his boater floated into the Packard's backseat.

"It was the most peaceful passing I've ever witnessed. Tom always admonished the survivors of the loved ones he buried, 'We'll all be showing up in that splendid land one day.'"

Oh, she'd heard her husband repeat it so many times. So often that she believed it too. "But why did he go alone?" she wept. "Why didn't he take me along?"

Tom had always provided the answers   Continue…

   by Dennis Vannatta Dennis Vannatta

Dennis Vannatta has published stories in many magazines and anthologies, including Chariton Review, Boulevard, Antioch Review, and Pushcart XV. He has published five collections: This Time, This Place and Prayers for the Dead, both by White Pine Press; Lives of the Artists by Livingston Press; and Rockaway Children: Stories and Flamboyan: Tales of Love and Other Mysteries, by Rising Star Publishers. His first novel, Around Centralia Square, was recently published by Cave Hollow Press.

Among the Lenten traditions of Christ Redeemer Parish was the Mardi Gras carnival and parade for the grammar school children. The ladies and gentleman of the PTO ran the game booths, cake walk, and refreshment stand in the school cafeteria, while the eighth graders were responsible for the parade. This took the form of a dozen or so "floats": ribbon- and crepe paper-festooned wheelbarrows, baby carriages, and Red Rider wagons pulled and ridden-in by gaudily dressed lads and lassies who tossed handfuls of plastic coins, bracelets, and necklaces to the squealing children lining the parade's half-block route. These activities were thought too frenetic for kindergarteners and first-graders, who celebrated Mardi Gras in their classrooms with their mothers' homemade cookies and ice cream in paper cups. Second graders were judged to be in a sort of limbo: old enough to enjoy the celebration but not mature enough to be allowed to roam free, especially on the parking lot where the parade was held. Therefore, for many years it had been the custom that each second-grader be assigned to a seventh-grade "guardian angel," whose duty it was to chaperon his or her little charge for the ninety minutes of Mardi Gras. The seventh graders, of course, hated it. Generally speaking, the second graders didn't like it much, either. It was at the Christ Redeemer Mardi Gras in 1963 that Teresa Ann Gunther fell in love.

There was a lot of luck involved, but isn't there always in love? Teachers preferred to match boys with boys and girls with girls, but there happened to be more girls than boys in the second grade and more boys than girls in the seventh, so Teresa Ann got stuck with a boy guardian angel. Her friends went nearly paralytic with giggling to see Teresa Ann, the smallest girl in her class, walk off with the tall blond giant. Teresa Ann was mortified. She felt her face go all blotchy red and white as it did when she was about to cry. She did not cry, but it was a close call.

For an hour the boy followed her from game booth to game booth to refreshment stand. When she'd finish one activity, he'd say, "Well, Teresa Ann, what do you want to do next?" Had she been more objective, she might have said that he was gentle, kind. But she was too nervous, being in such close proximity to a boy five years her senior, for objectivity. She never looked him in the eye, didn't remember his name—if he ever said it—remembered very little, in fact, of her hour in the cafeteria, which was pretty much an ordeal.

Something changed, though, when the carnival portion of the festivities was over and everyone trooped outside to watch the parade. The boy took her hand. Teresa Ann thought that now for sure she would cry, but just at the point of welling up she shot a glance at two of her friends standing at the curb with their guardian angels and saw that they weren't giggling but looking at her with an expression she could not identify. At that moment, though, she no longer felt the desire to yank her hand out of the boy's.   Continue…

Creative Nonfiction Editor: Rebecca Balcárcel Rebecca Balcárcel

Rebecca Balcárcel teaches creative writing and literature at Tarrant County College. Her work has appeared in over twenty journals and magazines, including North American Review, Concho River Review, South Dakota Review, 5AM, and Aura Literary Review. Trilobite Press published Ferry Crossing, a chapbook of her poems in 2002. She took her MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars in 2002 and received their Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize. Her Web site is

   by Jim McGarrah Jim McGarrah

Jim McGarrah's poems, essays, and stories have appeared in many literary magazines, including After Shocks: Poems of Recovery, Bayou Magazine, Cincinnati Review, Connecticut Review, Elixir Magazine, and North American Review. He is the author of two award-winning books of poetry, Running the Voodoo Down and When the Stars Go Dark, a memoir of the Vietnam War entitled A Temporary Sort of Peace that won the 2010 Eric Hoffer Award for Legacy Nonfiction, and The End of an Era (nonfiction, Ink Brush Press, 2011). His newest book, Breakfast at Denny's (Ink Brush Press, 2013), is a collection of his latest poems. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a finalist twice in the James Hearst Poetry Contest. He is also co-editor of Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana and a founding editor of RopeWalk Press.

Somewhere around 1960, my grandfather on my mother's side stopped driving. No one knew exactly why. Perhaps he sensed the oncoming forgetfulness that would wipe his memory of what car keys were for in a few more years. It may have been his stubborn refusal to wear glasses so he could pass the eye test, or his disgust at having to pay twenty-seven cents a gallon for gasoline. More than likely, he just decided one day that there was nowhere else he needed to go. Whatever the reason, he parked his pea green, fluid drive, 1948 Chrysler next to the curb in front of his brown shingled house on North Hart Street in Princeton, Indiana, unfolded a lawn chair, and sat down next to a water pipe that rose from the scalded dirt he called a front yard.

The pipe was topped by an ugly cast iron farm faucet. Its handle required a violent tug upward and the stream of water issuing forth was, like a feral river, untamed by any possible adjustment of said handle. On steamy, Indiana dog days I rode my Schwinn from our home on West Broadway to the ball park, stopping at grandpa's for a drink of tepid water that always tasted like metal and dirt. He asked me the same question every day, one he knew the answer to before I even spoke. "Did you ride all the way from over yonder?" The yonder—a distance of five blocks—question generated the same answer each time he asked. "Yessir and I didn't think I'd make it this far."

Originally yonder was a southern slang term to indicate "the far distance." But grandpa had never traveled farther south than the southern tip of Indiana. To him, yonder was a multi-faceted directional tool used to specify where a person had come from and might go to, a language compass so to speak. For example all immigrants came from "over yonder" whether they were Asian, Hispanic, or Eastern European. When people died, their souls traveled "up yonder" unless my grandfather held some complaint against them, in which case they were sent "down yonder."   Continue…

Poetry Editor: Katherine Hoerth Katherine Hoerth

Katherine Hoerth is the author of a poetry collection, The Garden Uprooted (Slough Press, 2012). Her work has been included in journals such as Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, BorderSenses, and Front Porch. She teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Texas Pan American and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor of Fifth Wednesday Journal.

Cellular Soliloquy
   by Ken Haas Ken Haas

Ken Haas lives in San Francisco, where he works in healthcare and sponsors a poetry writing program at the UCSF Children's Hospital. His poems have appeared in Alabama Literary Review, Sanskrit, Caesura, The Cape Rock, The Coachella Review, Crack The Spine, Existere, Forge, Freshwater, Hawai'i Pacific Review, Helix, Moon City Review, Natural Bridge, Pennsylvania English, Pisgah Review, Quiddity, Red Wheelbarrow, Rougarou, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Cottonwood, Stickman Review, Tattoo Highway, and Wild Violet. His poetry has been anthologized in The Place That Inhabits Us (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2010) and the Marin Poetry Center Anthology (2012, 2013).

If we were each just a cell of ourselves,
the choice would be equally epic:

To apoptose (from the Greek; to fall away,
as an autumn leaf)—what biologists
think of as programmed self-surrender,
the penny of life knowing just when to quit,
because its acid sweat, viral heat,
or tattered genes threaten the neighbors;   Continue…

Crystal Bowls
   by Emily Strauss Emily Strauss

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Over 200 of her poems appear in hundreds of online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity; at other times, she tells stories from experience and observation. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.

Once I bought elegant crystal bowls
hand-made, full of swirled colors
beautiful to look upon, so fine I put
them away for later in plain cardboard,
twenty years ago. Carefully wrapped
in tissue, they sit waiting, accompanied
by other elegant glassware, tea sets,
serving bowls, too fine to use every
day, too fragile, translucent Czech
porcelain like shells' creamy throats,
too precious to be crushed by a careless
earthquake or guest, they wait for me.   Continue…

   by Catherine Gonick Catherine Gonick

Catherine Gonick's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including Boston Review, Pivot, Crack the Spine, Ginosko, Word Riot, and Sukoon. She was awarded the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Prize for Poetry, as an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley, and completed an MA in creative writing at the City University of New York. She is the author of produced plays and was a finalist in the National Ten-Minute Play Contest with the Actors Theatre of Louisville. As part of a startup company that turns organic waste into energy through green technology, she divides her time between New York and California, with occasional trips to Europe and the Middle East.

A man is in the right for being a man; it is the woman who is in the wrong
—Simone de Beauvoir

wrong she is wronged
wronged she wrongs

desire becomes her secret crime
crime her secret desire   Continue…

The Mechanic's Wife
   by Kathryn Gahl Kathryn Gahl

Kathryn Gahl married twice and gave birth twice, worked as a registered nurse, single-parented, and cooked up a storm. She started a PTA and a Soccer Club, watched countless sporting events while she wrote in her head. Eventually, after studying at Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Taos, and Vermont College, she began to write up a storm. Her stories and poems appear in many journals, including The Notre Dame Review, Salamander, Margie, Chautauqua, Wisconsin People & Ideas, and Permafrost. She believes the transcendent power in writing comes from dark chocolate, red lipstick, deep sleep, and the light of her littlest love, her grandson Leonidas. A performance poet, she lives in Wisconsin.

She is but exhaust in the room
as he grinds one bolt
threads another and
fills the grease-gun
with amber thick stick-to-it-iveness.   Continue…

Prayer for the Hairdresser
   by Kathryn Gahl Kathryn Gahl

Kathryn Gahl married twice and gave birth twice, worked as a registered nurse, single-parented, and cooked up a storm. She started a PTA and a Soccer Club, watched countless sporting events while she wrote in her head. Eventually, after studying at Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Taos, and Vermont College, she began to write up a storm. Her stories and poems appear in many journals, including The Notre Dame Review, Salamander, Margie, Chautauqua, Wisconsin People & Ideas, and Permafrost. She believes the transcendent power in writing comes from dark chocolate, red lipstick, deep sleep, and the light of her littlest love, her grandson Leonidas. A performance poet, she lives in Wisconsin.

Our Sundays are given voice
by the hairdresser
whose fingers
cracked and dry
know our bones

the bones of hair
Vidal Sassoon called
that fervent way of seeing.   Continue…

Mother, In the Raw
   by Laurie Kolp Laurie Kolp

Laurie Kolp lives in Southeast TX with her husband and three children. Her poems have appeared in the 2015 Poet's Market, Diane Lockward's The Crafty Poet, and numerous print and online journals. Upon the Blue Couch, Laurie's complete collection of mostly biographical poems, is available on Amazon.

She cares not that she's lying there
naked as a newborn babe, shoulders
barely covered by thin sheets

all modesty wisped away
like an autumn leaf
the color of her hair   Continue…

Panther Traffic
   by Susie Berg Susie Berg

Susie Berg is a writer and editor, and the co-curator of Toronto's Plasticine Poetry Reading Series. She published her first full-length collection, How to Get Over Yourself, in 2013, and is currently working on two collaborations and an anthology which will keep her busy through early 2016. She has been know to eavesdrop and turn what she hears into poetry (, but always changes the names to protect those who talk too loudly in public.

We hurtle through heat lightning,
the dark road shouldered by swamp.
Tree roots snake the highway's flanks,
too damp to navigate lines between stars.   Continue…

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Works by Issue

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 — Current Issue
Number 3, 4 August 2014
Number 2, 19 May 2014
Number 1, 3 February 2014
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
Number 1, 7 February 2000
1999, Volume 1 Number 3, 1 November 1999
Number 2, 2 August 1999
Number 1, 3 May 1999