Amarillo Bay 
 Volume 18 Number 1 

Welcome to Amarillo Bay!

Something Good To Read
Volume 17 Number 4 — Published 2 November 2015

In addition to the works in this issue — the fourth issue of our seventeenth year — you can read the 734 works (262 fiction, 87 creative nonfiction, 385 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.).

After Giselle
   by Alice K. Boatwright Alice K. Boatwright

Alice K. Boatwright is author of three award-winning novellas about the Vietnam War, collected inCollateral Damage (Standing Stone Books, 2012), and of the Ellie Kent mysteries, which debuted with Under an English Heaven (Cozy Cat Press, 2014). She has also written dozens of stories, published in journals such as Amarillo Bay, America West, Beloit Fiction Journal, Mississippi Review, Penumbra, Stone Canoe, and Storyglossia

On the brightly lit stage, a peasant girl flirts with her lover. He loves me/he loves me not/he loves me. Petals fall from the flower in her hand, and she looks dismayed as the last petal falls: he loves me not. Her lover grabs a fresh flower. He loves/he loves/he loves. He says. She laughs and together they dance, joy lifting their feet, lighting their faces.

No matter how often she saw Giselle, Sonya was shocked by what came next. His lies exposed. Her madness and death. His grief and then salvation through the power of her love.

As the curtain fell, Sonya strained for one last glimpse of Albrecht, prostrate on Giselle’s grave, the lilies from his hands scattered on the ground. His loss filled her eyes with tears.

Then the grave was gone.

Anna came out smiling, a sheaf of roses in her arms. As she curtsied, her white dress touched the stage. Servan, in a black tunic, stood at her side. His dark hair curled forward as he bowed, smiled, then took Anna’s hand and kissed it.

“Brava! Bravo!” the audience shouted with relief and joy.

The noise boomed up into the rafters of the theatre, and Sonya clapped until her palms were stinging. Anna curtsied again, her eyes cast down. From the orchestra pit, the Maestro blew her a kiss. Flowers showered down, littering the stage with color. Sonya thought the shouting and clapping would never stop.   Continue…

Hazel Eyes
   by Mitchel Montagna Mitchel Montagna

Mitchel Montagna is a corporate communications writer for a large professional services firm. He has also worked as a radio reporter and a special education teacher. His poetry has appeared in Across the Long BridgePoetry Life and Times, and Peeks and Valleys. His fiction has been cited in contests by Writer's Digest and ByLine magazine. He lives in New Jersey.

I was never comfortable in the digital age, probably because I had already been around for a long time before it began. But while stuff like wireless networks and Twitter confused me, I was all over Google. For Google, all you needed to know was how to type, and that I could do.

Due to curiosity, or nostalgia, or some subterranean reason I couldn’t identify, I frequently used Google to try and locate certain people I used to know. I was no creep—I never tried to contact anyone, but I had this itch. Was it a compulsion? Maybe. But it never went further than finding an individual online—or not. Of course, I didn’t tell my wife, as she was unlikely to understand. Hell, I didn’t understand. A clue might be found in those whom I chose: they had not necessarily all been friends, but each had made a deep enough impression on me that I couldn’t let them go.

Many of these individuals were women. Some were even girls when I knew them. No mystery there—who was going to make a deeper impression on me than a pretty girl? Especially the ones I missed my chance with, which frankly was most of them. Anyway, women are difficult to track down online, what with marriages and name changes and such. But with one individual, a kid named Heather Carr, I was especially persistent. Heather had not only made an impression, she blew clear through me. I eventually found her, but I wished to hell I hadn’t.

I met her 35 years ago, when I was 20. We were counselors at a summer camp in the Catskill Mountains for mentally challenged kids, in those days called “special” or “exceptional” or “retarded,” depending on who was talking. Whatever you called them, I arrived at the camp nervous and all keyed up, never having done that kind of work before.   Continue…

   by Jeff Burt Jeff Burt

Jeff Burt’s work has appeared in Storm Cellar, The Nervous Breakdown, Agave, Wayfarer, Clerestory, and Graze, with subjects as various as homelessness, the High Plains, and edible grains. He won a 2011 SuRaa short fiction award. He lives with his wife in Santa Cruz County, California.

My earliest known ancestor burned at the stake in Norwich, England, refusing to convert to Catholicism, a protestant wick to the last incinerated gasp. My cancer draws the smell forward five hundred years, and all those around me pray I am the sacrifice that keeps the contagion from visiting them.

I don’t want ash, incense, or a confession to a priest. I want the God of fire, not iconic and held by vestments. I want God direct, enveloping, beads of sweat dropping so steadily from my brow I cannot look out but see a gleaming world finally incandescent, holy. I want to lay my chilled body in the flaming river of baptism and rise with a feverish faith.   Continue…

Tattoos and Rubber Gloves
   by Anne Goodwin Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin writes fiction, short and long, and blogs about reading and writing, with a peppering of psychology. Her stories “Silver Bangles,” “In the Interim,” and “The Good News” have been published by Amarillo Bay. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill. Catch up on her website: annethology or on Twitter @Annecdotist.

On the day of the funeral, Elsa vowed that the end of Arthur’s life wouldn’t presage the withering of hers. It wasn’t that she didn’t miss him, didn’t feel the ache of his loss with the dawn of each new day, but she’d learnt, long ago, that life was not to be squandered. She had a duty to carry on.

She decided to seek out some voluntary work—something to take her out of the house and out of herself. She imagined perching on a low stool reading stories to tousle-haired children or in the office of a charity putting the filing system to rights. But those kind of jobs required typed applications, security checks, and references, even for volunteers, and Elsa hadn’t the patience to track down the employers who’d praised her work twenty years before.

Eventually, she found a few hours a week at the old folks’ luncheon club in the church hall round the corner from the place she got her hair done: Tuesdays and Fridays, ten till half past two. The work provided colleagues and a sense of purpose, and a greater appreciation of the intervening days when she was responsible to no one but herself.   Continue…

Creative Nonfiction Editor: Gretchen Johnson Gretchen Johnson

Gretchen Johnson lives in Beaumont, Texas, and works as an Assistant Professor of English at Lamar University. Her short stories and poems have appeared in The Blue Bear Review, The Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Poetry Harbor, Spout Press, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and others. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Southwest Minnesota State University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. Her first book, The Joy of Deception, was published by Lamar University Literary Press in 2012, and her second book; A Trip Through Downer, Minnesota, was published by Lamar University Literary Press in 2014.

Connecting Flight
   by Grace Megnet Grace Megnet

Grace Megnet holds an MFA and is associate professor of Art at Lamar State College–Port Arthur. For fun she took creative writing classes at Lamar University. A Swiss native, she feels truly American only when she writes because writing enables her to hide her accent. In 2012 she was the March winner of the year-long short story contest of The Telegraph, UK with her story, “Bad Company.” She also won the TACWT student contest in creative non-fiction in 2012, 2013, and 2015. She lives in Beaumont with her husband who keeps teaching her English.

The girl at the check-in in Houston had made a mistake: our seats were in different rows on our connecting flight from Istanbul to Milan, but, too lazy to stand in yet another line, we opted against a seat change. The flight would be short. Four hours. When I came to my seat, a scrawny man with fearful eyes sat at the window.

“That’s my seat,” I demanded.

“You sit here,” the Italian businessman in a fine wool suit seated in the aisle seat ordered the scrawny man, pointing to the middle seat. I buckled my seatbelt, taking possession of conquered territory. The weather was good, and the flight would be pleasant, the pilot announced. I smiled, thinking of the people we had met, of the welcome we had received by a city we had faced pusillanimously, as the Bosphorus receded into haze. They were happy to see Americans, happy to impress us, happy to be our friends.

My neighbor, moving closer until his head was on the level of my lap, also tried to catch a glimpse of the Bosphorus. His hair was oily, and I detected an odor of spicy-cooking-bazaar, too-many-airports, and poverty. He lowered his tray long before the flight attendant asked us what we wanted to drink. I wanted a lemonade. The scrawny man said, “Coke.” When the attendant brought the menu, he ordered baba ghanoush, my choice too, and I had to calculate if I wanted to be like him or instead endure a boring chicken breast.

“Eggplant,” I told the flight attendant.

He ate with his spoon and licked his fingers after he finished, dirt underneath his fingernails. The vanilla panna cotta was delicious. He scratched along the plastic container with his spoon and then licked the places where it would not reach. He also ate the mint garnish. I remembered the Germanwings disaster and dismissed the thought that this silent meal with this stranger could be my last human interaction. I should have insisted on a seat change. I had promised “till death do us part” to the man who, oblivious to my ordeal, sat four rows ahead drinking beer. My neighbor belched.   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.

The Fastidious Bartender
   by Glen Sorestad Glen Sorestad

Glen Sorestad is a poet from Saskatoon on the Canadian prairies. He is the author of many books of poetry, his latest, Hazards of Eden: Poems from the Southwest (Lamar U. Literary Press, 2015).

Each bottle, each glass has its perfect location
in his world and anything askew must be returned
promptly to what he views as harmony, the innards
of a Swiss watch, the beauty of a well-run bar.   Continue…

   by Jota Boombaba Jota Boombaba

Jota Boombaba, when not on the road, writes in and around San Francisco, where he lives and kicks back with his son. Catch him most days at

                        — Easter, 1980
Most everyone’s gone for the holiday
or gone to church or shut away at home
the streets have surrendered to belfry chimes
to flocks of pigeons, swirls of last night’s trash   Continue…

   by Anne Britting Oleson Anne Britting Oleson

Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely on four continents. She earned her MFA at the Stonecoast program of USM. She has published two chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana (2007) and The Beauty of It (2010). A third chapbook, Planes and Trains and Automobiles, is forthcoming from Portent Press (UK), and a novel, The Book of the Mandolin Player, is forthcoming from B Ink Publishing—both in the fall of 2015.

On the road to hospice
somewhere outside Hereford.
A side road. Tiny farm stand
with a single-word sign: plums   Continue…

Red-Tailed Hawk
   by Michael Baldwin Michael Baldwin

Michael Baldwin holds a Master’s degrees in Political Science and Library Science. He was a library administrator and professor of American Government until retiring in 2014 to become a full-time writer and creativity consultant. His poetry book, Scapes, won the Eakin Book Award, 2011, and his poetry chapbook won the Morris Memorial Award in 2012. He has also published a mystery-thriller novel, Murder Music, and Passing Strange, a collection of Science-Fiction short stories. Mr. Baldwin resides in Benbrook, Texas.

One summer, during my teenage,
I took the train from Fort Worth
to Amarillo to visit my cousin, Boyd,
on his family’s chicken ranch in Dumas.
He and I spent many days exploring on foot
those high, dry plains of Texas’ Panhandle.

It was a country of scrub brush, prickly pear,
and occasional puny mesquite trees,
far outnumbered by oil rigs, looking like
mechanical dinosaurs with obsessive, compulsive
disorder, pecking methodically at the earth.   Continue…

   by Robin Wright Robin Wright

Robin Wright has had poems published in a virtual gallery at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana and in several literary journals. Most recently, two of her poems were selected for publication in the University of Southern Indiana’s 50th anniversary anthology, Time Present, Time Past. She has also co-written two novels with Maryanne Burkhard under the name B. W. Wrighthard, Ghost Orchid and A Needle and a Haystack.

We’re young, newly married,
and when the landlord hands us the key
to our first apartment, we’re transported

into the car of a Disneyland ride,
the thrill rising to meet us
as we descend down the rail.   Continue…

A Tall Sip of Water
   by Harnidh Kaur Harnidh Kaur

Harnidh Kaur is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy. Her first book, The Inability of Words, is slated for a 2016 release. Her work can be found on various international online platforms, and on her personal blog, She is the senior poetry editor of Inklette Magazine.

Dragonflies remind me of skin
sweltering, simmering summers
melting into pools of aquamarine
sliding into hazy afternoons spent
in bed, the wrinkles of the sheets
curve into the curves of me, my   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.

2016, Volume 18 Number 4, 7 November 2016 — Future Issue
Number 3, 1 August 2016 — Future Issue
Number 2, 16 May 2016 — Future Issue
Number 1, 1 February 2016 — Future Issue

2015, Volume 17 Number 4, 2 November 2015 — Current Issue
Number 3, 10 August 2015
Number 2, 18 May 2015
Number 1, 2 February 2015
2014, Volume 16 Number 4, 3 November 2014
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