Amarillo Bay 
 Volume 17 Number 1 

Welcome to Amarillo Bay!

Something Good To Read
Volume 17 Number 1 — Published 2 February 2015

In addition to the works in this issue — the first issue of our seventeenth year — you can read the aproximately 699 works (250 fiction, 84 creative nonfiction, 365 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.).

The Little Store
   by Edward H. Garcia Edward H. Garcia

Edward H. Garcia is retired from teaching composition, literature, and creative writing in the Dallas County Community College District. He has published many reviews and articles in The Dallas Morning News and other publications, including The Texas Observer, The Texas Humanist, Pawn Review, Texas Books in Review, ¡Tex!, County Line Magazine, and Southwest Historical Quarterly. He is represented in Texas in Poetry 2, Texas Short Stories 2, Literary Dallas, and in two anthologies of writing by DCCCD faculty and staff, Out of Dallas and Voices from Within. Some of his poems have been translated into Albanian and published in an anthology of American poetry: Poezia: bashkekohore amerikane. He lives on the upper east side of Texas with his wife Rica.

The store grew, in a sense, out of Edward's habit of mind, inherited one way or another from his father, of expecting the worst. More than that, there was that impulse to warn that he had been so unsuccessful with. In all the years of teaching at St. I______, he wasn't sure that a boy had ever listened to him, taken his warnings seriously. He would quote Housman—quaint they must have thought—"Luck's a chance but trouble's sure," but they only took notes because it was the kind of school where you took notes and grades were important and quaint teachers were to be humored. But they never took note.

It was too late now. He had been given the infamous Orrefors bowl and the clock, presumably to fill his empty life with little tick, tick, ticks. The clock and bowl, boxed, were in his study closet. Edward had to admit that his life could use some filling up. So the circumstance of his retirement—he couldn't shake the feeling that they were glad to see him go—also contributed to the idea of the little store. It came to him in a flash just what the message would be. He didn't think the money would be a problem. He could find a suitable place for the store in one of the small towns nearby. The more run down the better. It was the rest that worried him. He wasn't sure he could strike just the right note to suit his purpose. But that, he told himself, was the challenge. He remembered a woman who had talked to him about getting out of his "comfort zone." He could not quite forgive her for saying, however sincerely, "comfort zone" and "outside the box" and "affective domain." But he had been a little in love with her, not leave-your-wife in love, but for-the-duration-of-the-retreat in love. It had gone no further than sitting side by side at night by the pool, shoulders just touching. It wouldn't have hurt to try to go further, but he didn't. Adultery was outside his comfort zone that particular weekend.

Edward interrupted contemplation of his plans for the little store to wonder about her. He had her first name down to either "Eileen" or "Elaine." He was pretty sure it was Elaine. He remembered vividly, on the other hand, the curve of her neck, the auburn of her hair, the way her breasts pushed and sagged against her sweater. That was years before cleavage, he thought ruefully. She would be his age, which was ok then but perhaps not now. Now that he was free. What a ridiculous formulation. Now that he was whatever he was, would it be worth the trouble to look up Elaine (or Eileen—maybe it was Eileen) or email her? He did email. If he could remember her last name, assuming she hadn't changed it, and if she had the faintest idea who he was, she would still be as old as he was, so what would be the point of that? He remembered Dickens and his great love, meeting after all those years, Dickens appalled by the frivolous frump she had become. He could have told Dickens, "Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure." Except that it hadn't been written yet.

The search for the little store was one of Edward's solitary pleasures. He explored the three- and four-digit roads around his East Texas home. The higher the number, he observed, the smaller the road. He was looking for a combination of characteristics which he didn't articulate even to himself. He would know it when he saw it. There would be time then to analyze and to verify his intuition, but he knew it wouldn't be necessary. When he saw it, he would know.   Continue…

The Lightning Whelk
   by Frank Freeman Frank Freeman

Frank Freeman's poetry has appeared in The New York Quarterly, Tiger's Eye, The Aroostook Review, and The Axe Factory. His book reviews have appeared in America Magazine, Bloomsbury Review,Commonweal, The Dublin Review of Books, The Literary Review, The Rumpus, Touchstone, and The Weekly Standard, among others. His story, "The Snowstorm," can be found in the current Saint Katherine's Review. Frank is a stay-at-home dad of four who lives in Saco, Maine. He grew up in Texas, Connecticut, and California, received a BA in English from Texas A&M and an MA in English from Northeastern University.

I flung myself against the top of the front seat so that my head was between Daddy's and Grandpa's. Daddy smelled like Aqua Velva and Vitalis, Grandpa like beer and Jensen's Hair Tonic, bottles of which he had once delivered to barber shops from the back of a motorcycle before the streets of Houston were paved. "There's the ocean!" I pointed it out to them.

Grandpa clucked his tongue. "That ain't the ocean, Red. That's the Gulf of Mexico."

"It's all the same water," Daddy said. "It flows in from the Atlantic."

"If you looked on a map, what would it say?"

Daddy stopped the car. "Which cabin?"

"Don't matter."

"What about the key?"

"Ain't no keys here." Grandpa flicked his left hand. "Closest to the beach. 'Key,' he says, as if the Mongol horde can't wait to break into one of these goddamn fishing shacks."

Daddy swiveled his head so his neck cracked like when you crack your knuckles. He drove on to the last cabin, number seven.

"What's the Mongol horde, Grandpa?"

"Bunch of Chinamen who tried to take over Europe. They took over about half of it. You never heard of Genghis Khan?"

"No sir."   Continue…

   by Kathryn M. Huber Kathryn M. Huber

Kathryn M. Huber started out in Seattle but ended up in Lima, Peru. In between, she studied Theater at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, got a Masters in Social Work from Columbia, and spent a decade in NYC before moving to Peru the first time. After living, working, and writing in Costa Rica, Bolivia, and Atlanta with three kids and more dogs, she returned to Lima with her Peruvian husband to continue the adventure. She has just finished a novel set in 6th century Peru—the period when the Nasca culture succumbs to environmental and climate crisis. Her stories and essays have appeared in a variety of literary magazines, and include a Pushcart nomination. A taste of her work is available at

The unrelenting sound of construction has not ceased since the day Marisol first asked me about curses and enchantments. I hadn't really paid much attention to all the building in the neighborhood, since I kept my radio tuned to an upbeat oldies station that masked the other noises. But that day, I turned off the radio to be able to hear her better. For some reason, I never turned it back on. The rhythms of construction have replaced the music that used to fill my office. From all sides come the buzz and clank, the banter of workers—but I digress. I am not here to recount the problems in the neighborhood, but to tell you something of Marisol's story before my office is taken apart around me.

It was almost exactly a year ago when Marisol's dark and downcast face suddenly moved out of the shadowed corners of my world right into its center. Her name had always made me think of girasol—Spanish for sunflower, from girar "to turn" and sol for "sun." Marisol was anything but sunny back then. Oddly enough, that day I had bought a bouquet on the way to the office, thinking that their cheerful yellow halos would brighten up the place. As soon I took them out of the plastic wrapping, however, they all dropped forward, burdened by their own weight. I should have known. The one time I tried planting a line of sunflowers against my garden wall, they all needed string to hold them up. Yet each day, even though barely able to hold their heads up, they rotated with the light, ever turning toward the sun.

I first met Marisol eight years ago when she came to pick up tickets for one of my neighbors. The Vasquez family had kept me in business with their huge cotton factory and clients worldwide. Both husband and wife traveled extensively and the company sent sales reps all over the world. I confess that there were times when their patronage was the only thing that paid my rent. Señora Vasquez has been using my services ever since I came down from the States to handle my brother's travel agency when he got sick—may he now rest in peace. At that point, Marisol had been the Vasquez housekeeper for almost ten years. As well as running the Vasquez household, Marisol occasionally ran errands—like picking up plane tickets and hotel vouchers from me. I always offered to send a messenger, but the señora was never one to wait. My office is just around the corner and actually has a view to the Vasquez property. There is another back yard between us, with the usual eight foot walls, but from my third floor balcony I can see their interior garden. I used to sit with a cup of tea and watch the parties around their crescent pool, trying to see if I could identify any of their distinguished guests. Once their children finished college, they entertained more than ever. They maintained a chauffeur, a full-time cook, a man twice a week for heavy cleaning, a laundry woman, and Marisol, who kept everything neat and orderly. It was obvious that Marisol took pride in her position with such a well-established family. Behind her deference and exaggerated courtesy she always exuded a sense of dignity that I seldom saw in other household help.

Despite decades of hard work and contributions from older children with jobs. Marisol's family hovered just above the official poverty line. To neighbors who lived far below that line, she appeared to be one of the lucky ones. She had had steady work for almost twenty years and made $300 a month, which was more than most domestic help in Lima. She owned the land she lived on, two hours north of the city. Her home not only had brick walls, but she had managed to add a second floor. The first floor might be nothing but hardened earth and the toilet still outside, but in a country where half the population lacks running water, she had more than most. She even had enough space in the back corner of her yard to add a makeshift room when her son got married.   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 Sarah Wilkinson Sarah Wilkinson

Sarah Wilkinson studies at Champlain College in the undergraduate Professional Writing program. You can find her practicing shavasana, taking photos with her bow-tie-wearing cat, or advocating for those, like herself, who suffer from Interstitial Cystitis. She's also published in Halfway Down the Stairs. Laugh and cry with her at

I see Her. She steps out from behind the stars, Her dress blowing like soft breeze across my cheeks. I hear Her over the speedboat's idling engine, Her silence stifling the night that blooms around me. She is the space between each star, the deep, endless black of the water that blends into the endless black trees that falls into the endless black sky, smooth as black silk. Stars bleed into the night, fluttering across the water, falling from the sky into my open palms. Her hands are warm as they cup my cheeks, the hair on my arms prickling. My voice, small but reaching, thrumming inside my throat with the words —

"—Sarah, are you okay?" a voice says, someone in the boat. It's enough; I search the sky for Her, but She's disappeared behind the stars, swallowed up by the blackness, and with Her, She takes the words thrumming in my throat. The stars still shine up from the bottom of the lake, dancing in the trembling wake kicked up by the engine. When the boat hits the dock, I feel the world fall away from me.

Soon after, my Papaw disappears. I find out in a Walgreens parking lot that he's in prison for child molestation. An arrow, the first, slices into my chest, my heart straining to make room. I remember him, the Papaw I knew, the one who ate cookie dough out of the bowl with me while I sat on his lap; who snored in his recliner, Jeopardy on mute; who wore a fake beard as Santa Claus at the local mall one year, and I didn't even recognize him. I don't recognize him; these memories belong to someone else. I watch them fade in the rain that pounds the car as Mom drives, watching as the memories tear and curl in on themselves, falling away with the houses we pass. I reach out of the window and scoop a handful of the soggy memories, putting them in my pocket for later.   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.

Awakening to the Moon
   by David Bowles David Bowles

A life-long resident of the Rio Grande Valley, David Bowles has authored several books, including Shattering and Bricolage, The Seed, Mexican Bestiary, and Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry, which was awarded the 2014 Soeurette Diehl Frasier Award for Best Translation by the Texas Institute of Letters. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous magazines, including Rattle, Apex Magazine, Metamorphoses, Translation Review, Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, Concho River Review, Huizache, Texas Poetry Calendar, Interstice, Out of the Gutter, Eye to the Telescope, SQ Mag, James Gunn's Ad Astra, Red River Review, Ilya's Honey, and BorderSenses.

Formless whorls of light
swell and ebb in dreams
marching close then slipping
away till, in a limbo edging
wakefulness, the argentine
abstraction contracts into
a bright sphere that streams
its cold, hard illumination
through the window.   Continue…

Building Amenities
   by Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith

Elizabeth Smith is a Staff Attorney at Legal Aid Society. She received her B.A in Religious Studies from Nazareth College and a J.D from Fordham University Law School. Her short story, "A Venetian Winter," won a travel short story contest hosted by St. Christopher's Inns. She enjoys water color painting, working on her art journal, and traveling, particularly to Europe.

"Look! There's Orion!"
          And he points above my head
and to the left.
I stare at the line of stars
          with determination
in my heart—
I want to remember the night sky like this—
from the rooftop.   Continue…

Croque Monsieur and Belgian Boys
   by Maureen Fielding Maureen Fielding

Maureen Fielding has an MA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English, and she teaches English and Women's Studies at Penn State. She is working on a novel inspired by her experiences as a Russian intercept operator in West Berlin during the Cold War.

Carla laughs.
Pinball flippers snap. Bells ping.
We are young and crossing borders.
We are les Américaines exotiques.
They are native boys, les Belges.
We share our
Croque monsieur bought
With pooled pocket money.

We want to know each other deeply,
Struggle in limited English and rudimentary French.
They consult, and René, the most fluent, translates,
His voice soft and melodic, almost a whisper:

"What are your ambitions in life?"   Continue…

   by Cathy Lopez Cathy Lopez

Cathy Lopez received her MFA in creative writing from University of Texas-Pan American, has been published in BorderSenses, co-founded and edits Devilfish Review, teaches freshman composition, and tweets, tumbls and blogs with abandon. And yet she is rubbish at writing short bios.

Who knew joy
could be wrapped
in a corn husk?
That Sunday mornings should taste
like masa
and chile
and grease?   Continue…

A Thought that Passes
   by Jim Plath Jim Plath

Jim Plath is an author of fiction and poetry. His short stories have most recently appeared in The 3Elements Review, The Telegram Review, and the Monarch Review. His poetry has appeared in Westward Quarterly, The San Pedro River Review, and War, Literature & the Arts. He will obtain his BFA in creative writing this spring from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

I wait in the penumbra of a shedding
oak while foliage shrouds amber grass
with spent life, wreckage in burnt orange
and goldenrod. On pallid branches,
sparrows, meek as streams, trade
farewell songs with autumnal wind.   Continue…

Unsecured Objects
   by Christy Effinger Christy Effinger

Christy Effinger's short work has appeared in various print and online publications. She is the author of Say Nothing of What You See, a paranormal new adult novel from The Wild Rose Press. Christy lives near Indianapolis with her husband and young daughter. Her website is

Twenty weeks pregnant and I dream of
a child falling from great heights,
small hand slipping through my own,
face blank as a new moon.

Storm sirens wail in the night.
A cold front pushes east,
spawns twisters near our town
where a warm but wild wind blew all day.

I shake off the sheets and dreams,
wander our dark house alone.
From the window I see trees outlined by lightning.
Naked limbs spread and sway.

Only two days ago they flamed red and gold,
dripped color on the lawn like careless painters.
Now stripped bare, they stand
stark as bones on an X-ray photo,
or babies on a sonogram screen.   Continue…

Warning: Do Not Cry & Drive
   by Karen Paul Holmes Karen Paul Holmes

Karen Paul Holmes has a poetry collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press 2014). She's a freelance business writer, poet and writing workshop leader whose poetry credits include Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Caesura, Every Day Poems, Sow's Ear Poetry Review and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol: 5, Georgia (Texas Review Press).

Projectile tears will speck your glasses with salt
or your contacts will feel like dry rocks.
Even if you have 20/20
you'll take the wrong left through your haze,
not notice for ten miles.
When you finally get there—maybe
it's a friend's dinner party—
crimson veins will worm your eyeballs,
mascara will track your face,
make you Queen of the Dead.   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.

2015, Volume 17 Number 4, 2 November 2015 — Future Issue
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Number 1, 2 February 2015 — Current Issue
2014, Volume 16 Number 4, 3 November 2014
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2008, Volume 10 Number 4, 3 November 2008
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2007, Volume 9 Number 4, 12 November 2007
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2006, Volume 8 Number 4, 6 November 2006
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2005, Volume 7 Number 4, 7 November 2005
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2004, Volume 6 Number 4, 1 October 2004
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Number 2, 3 May 2004
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2003, Volume 5 Number 4, 3 November 2003
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2002, Volume 4 Number 4, 4 November 2002
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2001, Volume 3 Number 4, 5 November 2001
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2000, Volume 2 Number 4, 6 November 2000
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1999, Volume 1 Number 3, 1 November 1999
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